Letter: Reward excellence 1

January 4, 2002

The Higher Education Funding Council for England's decision to use the results of this year's research assessment exercise to reward the full range of research success is a sound investment ( THES , December 14).

But the superb results from the new universities and higher education colleges seriously challenge the council to find adequate funding.

The post-1992 sector trebled its share of top-rated research since the last RAE in 1996. If the system were truly equitable and adequately resourced, the new universities would receive an increase in their share of research funding from 5 per cent in 1996 to 15 per cent - an extra £110 million.

The results represent a remarkable achievement - even more laudable considering the woefully small amounts of research funding with which our institutions work. Many of the top-performing departments will have had to compensate for underfunding by diverting resources from teaching.

New universities need and deserve their fair 15 per cent share of the funding to build on their successes.

Funds that are spread more widely and fairly can only be of greater benefit to a wider range of students and the United Kingdom's economy.

Paul Mackney
General secretary, Natfhe.

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