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Armagh Observatory Research Internationally Recognized

The results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), published on 18th December, show that the Armagh Observatory has significantly improved its research performance since the last RAE in 2001.

In 2008 a large majority, 85%, of the Observatory s research is assessed as being of international quality in terms of its originality, significance and rigour, and the remaining 15% of UK-national quality. The corresponding figures in 2001 were approximately 10% reaching attainable levels of international excellence, with the remaining 90% achieving UK-national excellence. In 2008, as in previous RAEs, the Observatory submitted 100% of its eligible research staff for assessment.

Professor Mark Bailey, the Observatory Director, said The Observatory s research performance has improved significantly in each of the previous RAEs. A significant fraction of the Observatory s research is internationally excellent. This is a very good result particularly considering that, unlike comparable university groups, the Observatory has never received any additional RAE funding nor does the organization have the economy of scale to transfer resources from one department to another.

The Armagh Observatory is a modern astronomical research institute supported by grant-in-aid from the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. Founded in 1789 by Archbishop Richard Robinson, the Observatory is the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland and the longest continuously functioning observatory in the UK and Ireland.

Astronomers at Armagh come from many countries around the world and undertake front-line scientific research in solar-system astronomy, solar physics, stellar and Galactic astrophysics, and solar-system Earth interrelationships. Members of staff at the Observatory maintain a unique meteorological archive, the longest continuous daily series from a single site in the UK and Ireland.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Bailey at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; mebat signarm.ac.uk.

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Last Revised: 2009 January 5th
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