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The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is an exercise undertaken approximately every 5 years on behalf of the four UK higher education funding councils (HEFCE, SHEFC, HEFCW, DELNI) to evaluate the quality of research undertaken by British higher education institutions. RAE submissions from each subject area (or unit of assessment) are given a rank by a subject specialist peer review panel. The rankings are used to inform the allocation of quality weighted research funding (QR) each higher education institution receives from their national funding council. Previous RAEs took place in 1986, 1989, 1992, 1996 and 2001. The most recent results were published in December 2008. Various media have produced league tables of institutions and disciplines based on the 2008 RAE results. Different methodologies lead to similar but non-identical rankings. (Excerpt from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_Assessment_Exercise">Wikipedia article: Research Assessment Exercise</a>)

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