Changes in both research ratings and the volume of staff identified in last year's research assessment exercise, combined with new methods of calculating the pots of money available for each subject, mean institutions could see radical differences in this element of their funding allocation.
To stop it coming as too much of a shock, the council has phased in the changes, introducing just one third in the first year. This year the council is distributing 97 per cent of research funding by quality, compared to 94 per cent last year.
Of the Pounds 704 million earmarked for research in 1997/98, Pounds 684 million will be distributed according to quality (QR). This is assessed by the grades achieved in the recent research assessment exercise, the number of eligible research staff and the weighting given to different subjects according to their cost band. This year shows an underlying increase of 6 per cent in allocations to quality research.
Another Pounds 20 million will be for generic research (GR), which encourages collaborations with industry and commerce and is distributed in proportion to the sums that institutions receive from these sources.
In previous years, research funding has included an element of development research (DevR) given to institutions formerly in the polytechnic sector.
This is now included in non-formula funding.