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Top research rating for Wye

17 December 2001

Imperial College at Wye is going up in the world. Researchers at the College have achieved a 4 rating reflecting levels of national and international excellence - in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise. Wyes research into plant molecular biology and physiology has been singled out for special praise with the highest 5* rating.

The Higher Education Funding Council ratings influence how Government research grants are allocated. Imperial College - of which Wye has been part since 2000 is now ranked second highest out of 148 universities, only 0.01 of a point behind Cambridge.

Professor Jeff Waage, head of the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Wye, comments:

We are pleased and challenged by our improvement in the RAE exercise. In the last national assessment in 1996 we were rated 3, so this is definitely a move in the right direction. We are confident that recent changes at Wye, including the creation of our new Department, will continue to improve our national and international research standing.

The Department of Agricultural Sciences brings together Wyes research interests in the natural, economic and social sciences related to agriculture, food and the rural environment. The research team singled out for special recognition in the assessment exercise has made significant discoveries over the past five years in plant development and disease resistance. Latest research includes the isolation of compounds from lettuce that inhibit insect feeding and fight against bacteria and fungi. By understanding the plants natural ability to protect itself against pests and disease, the team hopes to develop new approaches to crop protection, without the need for artificial chemicals.

Full details of the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, can be obtained on the Web:

Note to Editors

For further information, please contact Wendy Raeside, Press & PR Officer, Imperial College at Wye (telephone 0207 594 2624 or 01233 813743). Email: