Caveats from the great exercise

January 3, 1997

YOUR informative analysis of last year's research assessment exercise (THES, December 20) lacked a breakdown in the analysis of medical subjects, especially hospital-based clinical subjects. A breakdown into sub-areas akin to that of languages would serve to highlight the truly strong and less strong areas.

As they stand, the clinical subject areas are very broad, and the desirability for sub-grouping is highlighted by the very large unit groups of research active staff in the areas of clinical laboratory sciences, community-based clinical subjects, hospital-based clinical subjects, clinical dentistry and pre-clinical studies. These subjects have 49 groups with more than 45 staff - 28 of them being in hospital-based clinical subjects where just six groups have fewer than 45 staff. This corresponds to just 67 groups of more than 45 staff (14 in business and management studies and 16 in education) in the whole of the rest of the RAE area.

Clearly, there is a case for the funding councils to embark on a breakdown analysis of the information that is to hand, for it will yield information of much assistance to those who administer medical education.

J. D. R. THOMAS Orchard CourtGresford, Wrexham

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