Let the dinosaur die

April 7, 2006

It was interesting to see the table of winners if quality-related research (QR) funding was distributed according to 2003-04 external research income parameters ("What will be yardstick for success?", March 31). But we are already into the reality of 2006-07 Higher Education Funding Council for England funding. This shows that all the winners in the table figure in the top 20 beneficiaries from the new 2006-07 Charity Support Fund component of Hefce QR funding (based on charitable research income).

So the basing of QR funding on research income is already with us, untrammelled by the effects of any research assessment exercise, and no one has batted an eyelid.

Extension of this principle to all of the QR stream being based on a research income metric would therefore not appear to be that controversial an issue. So, why not ditch the RAE now, save the £45 million the exercise would cost, as well as the vast effort and time wasted in preserving the dinosaur it has become?

Keith Snell
Institute of Cancer Research

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