Health warning for REF's biomedical expertise

A lack of biomedical scientists on one of the subpanels for the research excellence framework has caused "grave concerns" over the credibility of the exercise, a representative body has warned.

September 22, 2011

The Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science claims that the subpanel that will be assessing biomedical research is unfairly biased against the subject.

The group argues that, if the split of submissions is on a par with that of the research assessment exercise in 2008, an extra four biomedical scientists would need to sit on the panel for it to be representative.

Chas Chowdrey, president of the group and head of biomedical sciences at the University of Westminster, said the issue was not a "minor anomaly" that could be ignored.

"It is of such magnitude that failure to rectify it would undermine the credibility of the REF in a subject area of enormous importance for the health service and the medical biotechnology industry," he said.

"It is very disappointing that the REF team has not acted on our concerns...(it) is not only grossly unfair but will run the risk of serious challenges to the REF outcome."

A Higher Education Funding Council for England spokesman said the subpanels had "reviewed their membership at an early stage to ensure they had sufficient expertise to contribute to the main panel criteria. In response, the UK funding bodies made some additional appointments including an additional biomedical scientist," he said.

"It will be vital that panels have the full range of expertise to assess submissions and to carry the confidence of their communities in the REF outcomes.

"In the run-up...the REF team will survey institutions to gain an up-to-date picture of the likely volume of submissions in each discipline, and (then) appoint additional assessors to the panels as necessary."

sarah.cunnane@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate