Architecture's research dimension

September 12, 1997

Your report that the RIBA is reviewing its research policy to take account of the low research ratings achieved by a fair number of schools of architecture in the recent research assessment exercise contains an illogical progression to the proposal to increase the research content in the second architecture degree as some kind of solution. The RAE rating is in respect of research by teaching staff in research time provided by the employing institution.

It is therefore well-nigh impossible to reckon research activity by students done as coursework in any future RAE where the work does not take published form. Even if the second degree, or diploma stage, is reclassified as postgraduate, it is identified by the RIBA as a professional/vocational stage where students spend most of their time designing complex buildings against practical technical, structural and cost parameters. It is the first degree which is classed as academic/educational.

R.C. Simmonds

Sloane Avenue, London

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