RAE funding puzzle

February 14, 2008

You report the explanation from a spokesman for the Higher Education Funding Council for England that data on research-active staff not submitted to the research assessment exercise are not being collected because they are "not relevant to the purpose of the RAE, which is to drive funding for research" ("Number of staff entered for RAE rises by 12%", 31 January).

But RAE funding will depend partly on judgments of the quality of the research environment, based on metrics of research students, research grants and other factors. The RAE submission rate is surely the strongest measure of research environment, and it is perverse to exclude it from the judgment while including others.

After the 2001 RAE, the Government instructed Hefce to give special consideration in its funding algorithm to 5-rated and 5*-rated departments. Is it possible that in 2009 the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will instruct the funding council to give special treatment to departments whose average grade per submitted researcher is above some particular threshold? Would Hefce refuse to comply with such an instruction on the grounds that the average grade per submitted researcher is a meaningless statistic in the absence of data on the number of non-submitted researchers?

Alasdair Smith, University of Sussex

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns