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Birkbeck academics in the top three for highest rate of doctorates in the UK

Official data reflects the College’s mission to offer the highest quality teaching within a strong research environment and provides reinforcement for Birkbeck’s strategic vision for research.

photo of the Birkbeck Library

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has highlighted Birkbeck as third for the highest rate of full-time academics holding a PhD qualification against a backdrop of a slow-down in the growth of academics holding a doctorate at universities across the UK.

It’s welcoming news as Birkbeck continues to ramp up its research strategy, with the recent launch of Heads of Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange for the new Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, Business and Law; and Science which took effect in the Summer.

Birkbeck, throughout its history, has been a research-intensive university with a fundamental part of its mission to make available the results of research as well as to maintain and develop excellence in research. The College, in 1921, also awarded the first University of London PhD to Lillian Penson, who was the first woman to become a Professor of History at any British university and the first woman in the UK and Commonwealth to become a vice-chancellor of a university.

Professor Julian Swann, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, said: “A commitment to research excellence is at the core of the Birkbeck mission. From the earliest days of our history, we’ve understood the intrinsic value of education to society. In our two hundredth year, as the world continues to rapidly progress, we continue to recognise that value and place a great deal of emphasis on making sure our students are exposed to academics who are engaged in research at the leading-edge of their fields.

“I am pleased that this latest national data reflects that commitment and our future strategy speaks to this also, as we continue to ensure that our academics can combine teaching and research efforts to inspire and engage our students. The College sees research excellence as fundamental for student learning and discovery and for the employment and future careers of its graduates.”

The College’s overarching corporate strategy, Vision 2021-26, commits to a number of principles in order to maintain and develop outstanding research, including but not limited to, empowering and valuing researchers, building international collaborations and promoting knowledge exchange.

Birkbeck was recently reconfirmed as one of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities with the majority of its research (83%) confirmed as world-leading and internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the UK’s official assessment of the quality and impact of research in universities.

Further Information

Information about PhD research at Birkbeck

Find out more about research at Birkbeck.

Read the Vision 2021-26 corporate strategy

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