The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a world-class teaching and research centre, concentrating on the full range of social, political and economic sciences. Few, if any, university institutions in the world are as international in character. The study of social, economic and political problems covers not only the UK and European Union, but also countries of every continent. From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analysed, evaluated and disseminated around the globe. LSE staff has extensive academic links with premier universities and research institutions around the world. Internationally, LSE staff is involved in research projects on all six continents, addressing real world problems in a context of rapid global change. LSE graduates are found in senior positions in politics, the civil service, business and industry, and international organisations around the world. LSE alumni and former staff include 13 Nobel Prize winners in Economics, Peace or Literature; around 28 past or present Heads of State, 30 current UK MPs and 34 current peers of the House of Lords. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council, covering 97 per cent of all the academic staff at LSE; the highest proportion for any university institution, the results showed that LSE is second in the table, behind Cambridge University.