The London School of Economics pips Oxford and Cambridge today to become the country's top-ranked higher education research institution.
The prestigious rankings will determine how the lion's share of £1.5bn worth of government funding for university research will be distributed from next year. The LSE wins its top league position for the first time in a table devised exclusively for The Independent by the leading research organisation Research Fortnight from official government statistics.
LSE's position was determined by the proportion of 4* ratings its researchers received – particularly in areas such as economics – where 60 per cent of the research it submitted for accreditation was given the top-ranking. Research Fortnight's analysis of today's assessment exercise is widely credited with being most respected within universities – and the closest in predicting the outcome of the Government's allocation of research grants.
When the exercise was last conducted seven years ago, Cambridge topped the table with Oxford taking second place.
However, the university department which won top marks for the quality of its research was that of museum studies in the University of Leicester – where two-thirds of the research submitted was ranked world-class.
In addition to the LSE, University College London also achieved a higher than 50 per cent ranking for the level of research into economics ranked world class (55 per cent).