A perverse formula for national funding

February 18, 2010

The Government's policy to concentrate research in fewer so-called "elite" universities seems odd to me ("'Golden triangle' to win funding riches", 11 February). First, in a political world where the search for efficiency is often supreme, there has never been an explicit consideration of a single measure of output (or should I say "impact"?) per pound of investment in higher education. I suspect such a study would tell a very different story.

Second, the Government through the Higher Education Funding Council for England seems to be breaking a moral contract, if not a legal one. Third, in terms of winning research income, why don't we have anonymous grant proposals in the same way we assess students' work?

Formulating our national policy on a geographical basis of perceived excellence seems perverse. What does it say to academics who do not wish to work in London, Oxford or Cambridge? Let the "market" dictate on fair and equal grounds.

Gareth Neighbour, Department of engineering, University of Hull.

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