Research myopia 1

April 4, 2003

I spent many years at a "teaching-only" institution with no core funding for research before the research assessment exercise (Letters, THES, March 14). All academics were scholarly, about half published fairly regularly and about a quarter obtained research funding from one source or another.

You couldn't stop academics being academic even if you were deranged enough to want to - all you could do was make it maddeningly difficult.

The RAE offered "teaching-only" universities a glimpse of teasingly small sums of money. The result was a huge increase in largely unfunded research.

In the last RAE, the research in virtually every department in my previous "teaching-only" institution was of national or international standing.

It costs very little to support the kind of research academics conduct in "teaching-only" institutions. Whether the ruthless focus necessary to achieve a 6* is good for students is a different matter.

Graham Gibbs
The Open University

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