UK Human Geography Is on Top of the World

Article excerpt

The Society has had reason to celebrate recently, with the news that a benchmarking review has ranked the UK's human geography research the best in the world. The sixth and final of a series of reviews led by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the analysis found that in the UK, human geography is an innovative, diverse, vibrant discipline that sets the intellectual agenda in many areas; publishes more than its fair share of major disciplinary journals; leads the way in terms of the number and reach of published journal articles; and has produced a large number of seminal publications--both books and articles. It was also noted that the discipline is radically interdisciplinary, regularly exporting ideas to other disciplines, and has had a substantial impact on policy and practice. (Examples of this impact can be found in the Society's 'Making the case for geography' series of policy briefings.)

The ESRC is the UK's largest organ/sat/on for funding research on economic and social issues, providing support for numerous researchers in geography departments around the country. Each of the reviews it has undertaken has been conducted in partnership with learned societies associated with the discipline under review. In this case, the review was carried out in collaboration with the Society and another major funder of human geography research, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The aim of the benchmarking reviews was to highlight the standing and contribution of British social science research in an international context. They were also designed to identify ways of enhancing capacity and to help to promote and shape future research agendas.

The Society's director, Dr Rita Gardner, acted as chair of the steering committee, which was made up of prominent British academics, users of human geography research and funders. …


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