Generation games 1

March 3, 2006

"Recruiting drive may gobble up pay cash" (February 24) shows that academic recruitment is skewed towards the senior grades to boost institutions' showing in the research assessment exercise.

But the RAE is also creating a caste system whereby intellectual work is done at a senior level, and newly qualified staff are presumed to have no knowledge worth imparting and no ideas worth pursuing as research topics. Many of my contemporaries are leaving academia after a few years of research because they are disillusioned with working in a factory system of knowledge production.

If new staff are offered only fixed-term contracts servicing RAE-returnable research projects there can be no wonder that some disciplines will struggle to recruit the next generation of lecturers to replace imminent retirees ("Dearth of new blood will stifle research", January ). When the academy realises it needs us we may have gone elsewhere.

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