Peace in research review

June 27, 1997

Peace has broken out at Glasgow University over management's "rigorous research review", with the Association of University Teachers abandoning plans for a ballot on boycotting the exercise.

There had been widespread suspicion and unrest over management proposals to interview individual academics about their research work, with fears that this would lead to compulsory redundancies.

But Glasgow's principal, Sir Graeme Davies, has now written to all academic staff to clarify "apparent misunderstandings". The research audit aims to be positive and helpful, he says, focusing on each academic's plans and the resources to back them. Even with extra support, some staff may not reach a high enough level of research, and may have to take on extra teaching and administration, Sir Graeme says.

But a joint statement from management and Glasgow's AUT says: "The purpose of the research review is forward-looking and developmental. Cases of unsatisfactory performance are likely to be rare and will be dealt with through the normal procedures."

The university has given assurances that it has not shifted from its target of a total of 90 job losses - all of which would be voluntary over three years.

Bill Stewart, president of Glasgow's AUT, said: "The whole tenor of the principal's letter is that the process should be handled sympathetically, and if there are any instances where that doesn't happen, I think they will be isolated and we'll be able to deal with it."

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