Huw Richards's article (THES, May 10) on the Postgraduate Report which I chaired, it contains an important ambiguity which needs to be clarified before a myth gains currency.
Our group has not recommended that funding for research students should be limited to departments rated 3 or above in the research assessment exercise. All postgraduate students, including research students, are funded through the teaching model and will, if our advice is accepted, continue to be so. Research students - essentially MPhil and PhD students - in their second and third years only are also funded through one of the smaller quantity drivers within the quality-related component of research funding, and it is this highly specific income stream which we have recommended should be limited to departments or units which meet a set of very stringent criteria - of which a grade 3 rating is but one. Many departments, whatever their RAE rating, will be hard put to meet all these conditions - but that is what we judge to be necessary if research students - surely our primary concern - are to have a satisfying experience.
MARTIN HARRIS Chairman, Postgraduate Review Vice chancellor, University of Manchester