The Campaign for Academic Freedom and Standards is backing a professor who is suing the University of North London for alleged breach of contract.
Cafas believes that the case, involving the former director of research at UNL, David Taplin, may be the first involving issues relating to academic appraisal to reach the High Court. He has issued a writ against the university.
Professor Taplin had almost completed a probationary year this March when he was told that he would not be awarded a contract because he had failed to meet mutually agreed targets. He claims he was dismissed because there was a "clash of culture" relating to research at the university, and that there were too few qualified doctoral supervisors on the staff to maintain adequate doctoral standards and that complaints had been lodged.
A university spokesman claimed that Professor Taplin was under no illusions about the targets set and said that the university would fight in the High Court.
Cafas spokeswoman Gillian Evans said: "Professor Taplin was set goals to do with his research plans as well as managerial type goals. Our concern is that there is a potential for manipulation."