Picture By James Ram. www.jamesram.co.uk

The quality of research undertaken by the University of Exeter in the fields of ecology and evolution has been ranked as the best in the country by a new international league table.

The rankings, compiled by Research.com, also place Exeter 14th in the world for the discipline, above the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford and University of California, Berkley.

It reveals that Exeter is home to a number of the most highly-cited researchers, among the most of any institution, including Professor Kevin Gaston, who is ranked second overall.

The league table is based on an analysis of more than 166,000 scholars, and includes more than 800 universities from around the world.

“Research.com’s rankings reveal the truly global standing of our academic endeavours across the vitally important fields of ecology and evolution,” said Professor Alexandra Gerbasi, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy. “So much of our research is truly world-leading in its impact, and addresses some of the most urgent issues we face around biodiversity and ecosystem degradation.”

Research.com rates universities and scientists by a field-weighted adjustment of their citations. Its aim is to “inspire researchers, businessmen and politicians around the world to investigate where prominent experts are heading and to provide an opportunity for the entire research community to find out who the leading experts in specific areas of study, in different countries, or even within research institutions are”.

Professor Gaston was the world’s second highest rated scientist for citations in the field of Ecology of Evolution, and first in the UK. The founding Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute, based in Penryn, has earned his world-leading reputation for his work on the interactions of people and the environment, such as the impact of artificial light on night-time ecologies.

He was among five Exeter scholars listed in the world’s top 500 – all of whom were also placed in the top 100 in the UK.

The ranking draws upon the University’s works in a number of academic areas, including Conservation and Ecology, Geography, Biosciences and Archaeology.

Professor Dave Hodgson, Head of the Department of Ecology and Conservation, based on the Penryn campus in Cornwall, said: “It is a remarkable achievement that, in just two decades and from almost a standing start, the University has become one of the leading institutions in the world for ecology and conservation. And this has genuine impact, not only for our students who are being taught by some of the most influential academics in their field, but for the organisations and bodies we work with in Cornwall and beyond.”