The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge was ranked joint first with Imperial College London in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.
The results were published today by HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
In the Assessment, 85% of the Department's research activity was rated as internationally excellent.
Professor Lynn Gladden said, "This is a great achievement for the new Department, and we are all looking forward to building on this success next year".
Professor Chris Lowe added, "The result of the independent RAE validates the approach we are taking in the new department and bodes well for its future international role".