The bias in favour of large departments by the RAE and the funding council excessively penalises top-flight researchers in the smaller departments. This will eliminate competition and deprive the UK science base of many excellent research staff, particularly in the new universities.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is talking of reserving funds for very large departments, based on their previous record.
The decision to take 1 per cent from the teaching budget to protect research in weak large departments will also disproportionately disadvantage the new universities, the majority of whose income is derived from teaching. Teaching there is aimed at educating students for jobs in industry and commerce, via well-established links founded on shared interests in applied research and close collaboration on course design. The 1 per cent reduction will further seriously damage provision for these vital areas of the economy.
P. A. Barnes
Head of the department of chemical and biological sciences
University of Huddersfield