The Black Female Professors Forum welcomes the announcement on the membership of the research excellence framework criteria phase and assessment phase subpanels. The forum heeded the open call from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to groups under-represented in academia and is pleased to see that some members now sit on a few panels.
While Hefce has indicated a commitment to equality and diversity, the composition of the panels suggests that this commitment focused primarily on gender. It is positive to see more gender representation, but we are disappointed at the limited numbers of black academics in general and black female academics in particular. We are furthermore concerned that for the most part any wider representation is confined to the assessment phase panels, whose work will only begin in 2020.
We are aware that recruitment is ongoing. We ask Hefce to continue to improve representation across all panels as further appointments are considered, and especially to increase the number of black women on the criteria phase panels. A broader representation would widen the purview of the panels, for example in relation to methodological approaches, but most importantly enhance both the rigour and legitimacy of the REF exercise.
Iyiola Solanke, on behalf of the Black Female Professors Forum
Chair in EU law and social justice
University of Leeds