Cash questions

April 15, 2005

Why does Exeter University's vice-chancellor believe that 4-rated departments will not be funded after the next research assessment exercise? ("Exeter to unveil big jobs push", April 8).

A 4-rated department in the old system would have 10 or 20 per cent of its researchers at 3* or 4* level. A 5* department might have 60 per cent of its research at 3* or 4* level.

Assume the funding formula will be Pounds X times the proportion of 3*-researchers plus Pounds Y times the proportion of 4* researchers, all times the number of staff submitted. (Only a formula of this type makes sense with the new profiles, and ignoring 1* and 2* research helps his argument.) A 5*-rated department with three times the proportion of 3* or 4*-rated research gets three times the funding of a "good" 4-rated department, as opposed to four times, as at present. The 5* department's share of the money could go up if it has a higher ratio of 4*:3* research, and 4* is better funded. But I do not see how the new system could take all the funding away from current 4-rated departments.

Richard Green
Hull University Business School

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