Chiefs dig in heels over participation

March 15, 2002

Universities will take on the government by refusing to recruit more students unless they get the money to do so.

University leaders have warned ministers that their 50 per cent participation target for 2010 will be missed unless they cough up the money to attract and retain more students.

Roderick Floud, president of Universities UK, said: "If the government does not provide funding, the service will have to be cut.

"We have delivered what has been asked of us and we are willing to deliver more if we get proper funding. But it is in no-one's interest to have a substandard higher education service."

Professor Floud, provost of London Guildhall University, spoke on behalf of vice-chancellors angered by last week's announcement of next year's grants for teaching and research. Real-terms funding has been cut for a number of universities.

Professor Floud added that the overall pot of cash was too small and that there was a deliberate attempt to use the funding mechanism to restructure the sector.

He said: "The British university system is based on a strong alliance between teaching and research. If that alliance is to be broken, then it should be done by public debate explicitly and not by the funding mechanism (which is) what is happening."

Higher education minister Margaret Hodge backs university alliances and mergers on the grounds that the system lacks diversity. She has said that institutions should not try to do everything but concentrate on what they do best.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is aiding diversification by cutting funding from weaker research departments, which are concentrated in post-1992 universities. At the same time it is increasing the cash for recruiting students from poor areas, which is something that new universities excel at.

UUK has been invited by the funding council to discuss the methods of funding teaching and research. Vice-chancellors will argue for a mechanism that avoids sharp annual changes such as those that will leave many institutions out of pocket next year.

* Medical and laboratory-based subjects lost out badly in the funding allocations announced last week, writes Alison Goddard .

Some departments that got the top 5* grade in the research assessment exercise will still see cuts, despite the funding council's promise to maintain the average unit of funding in real terms.

Top-rated research in clinical laboratory sciences, for example, has been slashed by more than 20 per cent. Grade 5 was cut by 33 per cent rather than the predicted 15 per cent, grade 4 by 50 per cent rather than the predicted 30 per cent and 3a by 75 per cent.

It means that universities will receive far more per researcher working on 5-rated nursing than they do for each researcher working on clinical laboratory science.

Hospital-based clinical subjects, clinical dentistry and biological sciences face far more swingeing cuts than had been expected. The cuts come because many institutions did well in these units of assessment.

The funding council simultaneously lowered the weighting given to high-cost laboratory and clinical research. In the past, such research has received 1.7 times the amount going to cheaper research in areas such as the arts. That premium has been reduced to 1.6 times.

At the other end of the scale, business, history, music and education have seen big increases.

* The head of the English funding council has promised to look again at the funding of nursing research after the comprehensive spending review in July, writes Claire Sanders .

Speaking at a conference on future directions in health care, Sir Howard Newby, chief executive of Hefce, said he was "personally committed" to supporting nursing research.

Nursing academics have been badly hit. Despite substantially improving their scores in the 2001 research assessment exercise, those with a 3b rating will receive no funding and those with a 3a limited funding.

According to the Council of Deans of Nursing this means that of the 42 nursing departments that submitted to the RAE, only 22 will receive any funding from the council in 2002-03, and only ten have any prospect of long-term funding.

Unit of assessment

Funding per researcher in £

Percentage change

3a

4

5

5*

3a

4

5

5*

Clinical Laboratory Sciences

3,146

10,314

19,493

,919

-75.8

-47.1

-33.4

-20.5

Community-based Clinical Subjects

3,438

11,3

21,306

30,516

-70.8

-36.1

-19.4

-3.9

Hospital-based Clinical Subjects

3,186

10,446

19,742

28,6

-75.4

-46.2

-32.2

-19.1

Clinical Dentistry

/

12,067

22,806

32,664

n/a

-39.8

-24.1

-9.4

Pre-Clinical Studies

/

/

19,920

28,531

n/a

n/a

-40.1

n/a

Anatomy

/

11,284

21,3

30,546

n/a

n/a

-1.3

17.8

Physiology

4,564

14,964

28,282

40,507

-61.1

-15.1

7.0

.7

Pharmacology

3,763

12,337

23,316

33,395

-64.9

-23.3

-3.4

15.3

Pharmacy

3,952

12,956

24,487

35,073

-66.7

-.2

-8.2

9.5

Nursing

5,709

18,719

35,380

/

-55.8

-3.5

21.6

n/a

Other Studies and Professions Allied to Medicine

5,762

18,892

35,707

51,142

-64.6

-22.6

-2.5

16.4

Psychology

3,243

10,631

20,093

28,779

-69.8

-34.0

-16.8

-0.6

Biological Sciences

3,652

11,974

22,631

32,414

-71.9

-38.5

-22.5

-7.5

Agriculture

5,598

18,355

34,690

/

-59.2

-10.8

12.4

n/a

Food Science and Technology

3,731

/

23,121

33,116

n/a

n/a

n/a

-4.4

Veterinary Science

/

/

22,804

/

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Chemistry

3,850

12,624

23,860

34,174

-69.9

-34.1

-17.0

-0.9

Physics

3,584

11,750

22,207

31,806

-69.0

-32.3

-14.8

1.9

Earth Sciences

3,808

12,486

23,598

33,799

-70.5

-35.5

-18.7

-2.9

Environmental Sciences

/

12,794

24,182

34,635

n/a

-33.8

-16.5

-0.4

Pure Mathematics

3,001

9,840

18,598

26,637

-65.9

-25.5

-6.0

12.2

Applied Mathematics

3,806

12,477

23,582

33,776

-69.3

-32.9

-15.4

1.2

Statistics and Operational Research

4,373

14,338

,098

38,812

-71.4

-37.4

-21.2

-5.7

Computer Science

4,624

15,159

28,651

41,036

-64.9

-23.4

-3.4

15.3

General Engineering

3,834

12,570

23,757

34,026

-70.0

-34.4

-17.3

-1.3

Chemical Engineering

3,602

11,811

22,323

31,973

-70.3

-35.2

-18.3

-2.5

Civil Engineering

3,767

12,349

23,340

33,429

-71.7

-38.2

-22.1

-7.0

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

3,901

12,789

24,171

34,620

-70.6

-35.8

-19.1

-3.5

Mechanical, Aeronautical and 
Manufacturing Engineering

3,773

12,370

23,379

33,485

-70.8

-36.1

-19.5

-3.9

Mineral and Mining Engineering

/

10,136

/

,439

n/a

-46.8

n/a

n/a

Metallurgy and Materials

3,729

12,226

23,108

33,097

-67.8

-29.7

-11.5

5.7

Built Environment

4,186

13,724

25,938

37,150

-57.8

-7.7

16.2

38.7

Town and Country Planning

4,710

15,443

29,188

41,805

-66.0

-25.7

-6.4

11.8

Geography

3,788

12,419

23,471

33,617

-63.5

-20.1

0.6

20.1

Law

2,166

7,102

13,423

19,226

-71.2

-37.1

-20.8

-5.3

Anthropology

2,283

7,485

14,147

20,263

-66.8

-.3

-8.5

9.2

Economics and Econometrics

2,656

8,708

16,458

23,573

-61.2

-15.2

6.8

.6

Politics and International Studies

2,855

9,361

17,692

25,340

-66.8

-.4

-8.5

9.3

Social Policy and Administration

3,365

11,033

20,852

29,866

-62.6

-18.3

2.9

22.8

Social Work

3,496

11,463

21,666

31,031

-63.2

-19.5

1.4

n/a

Sociology

2,695

8,836

16,700

23,919

-69.7

-33.8

-16.5

-0.5

Business and Management Studies

3,041

9,971

18,846

26,993

-65.1

-23.8

-3.9

14.7

Accounting and Finance

1,996

/

12,367

17,713

-72.0

n/a

-23.0

-8.1

American Studies

2,724

8,930

16,878

24,174

-63.5

-20.2

0.5

19.9

Middle Eastern and African Studies

2,559

8,390

15,857

22,712

-64.4

-22.2

-1.8

17.1

Asian Studies

2,196

7,201

13,609

19,492

-70.8

-36.2

-19.7

-3.7

European Studies

2,765

9,065

17,133

24,539

-68.7

-31.5

-13.7

3.0

Celtic Studies

2,294

/

14,216

20,361

n/a

n/a

-43.1

n/a

English Language and Literature

2,291

7,512

14,198

20,335

-71.3

-37.3

-21.0

-5.5

French

2,434

7,982

15,086

21,607

-65.9

-25.4

-6.0

12.3

German, Dutch and Scandinavian Languages

2,248

7,369

13,928

19,949

-69.8

-33.9

-16.7

-0.4

Italian

2,166

7,100

13,419

19,220

-69.8

-33.9

-16.7

-0.6

Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages

/

7,108

13,435

19,243

n/a

-37.7

-21.4

-6.2

Iberian and Latin American Languages

2,350

7,703

14,560

20,853

-67.3

-28.4

-9.8

7.7

Linguistics

2,610

8,556

16,171

23,161

-69.8

-33.9

-16.7

n/a

Classics, Ancient History, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies

2,089

6,850

12,947

18,543

-66.7

-.1

-8.2

9.9

Archaeology

3,207

10,515

19,874

28,464

-61.6

-16.0

5.8

26.3

History

2,577

8,449

15,969

22,872

-62.7

-18.5

2.7

22.9

History of Art, Architecture and Design

3,100

10,163

19,207

,510

-62.8

-18.7

2.5

22.3

Library and Information Management

2,605

8,542

16,144

23,122

-71.7

-38.1

-22.1

-7.0

Philosophy

2,306

7,560

14,288

20,465

-70.8

-36.3

-19.6

-3.9

Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies

2,510

8,229

15,552

22,5

-63.0

-19.1

2.2

21.7

Art and Design

5,259

17,241

32,586

/

-62.7

-18.4

2.8

n/a

Communication, Cultural and Media Studies

4,028

13,208

24,963

35,753

-59.9

-12.2

10.6

n/a

Drama, Dance and the Performing Arts

4,650

15,246

28,815

41,1

-61.9

-16.7

4.9

25.3

Music

3,532

11,580

21,886

31,347

-61.6

-16.0

6.0

26.5

Education

3,364

11,028

20,843

29,852

-60.8

-14.3

8.0

28.9

Sports-related subjects

3,777

12,383

23,403

33,520

-67.2

-28.3

-9.7

n/a

Average

3,711

11,788

21,061

29,261

-67.2

-29.2

-12.3

2.5

Source : HEFCE

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