Society to seek rejig of funding

November 14, 2003

The Royal Society is expected next week to call for a radical rethink of how research is funded, with serious implications for the dual-support system and the research assessment exercise.

Royal Society president Robert May has been studying the correlation between the amount of money received through the two streams of project funding from research councils and indirect costs allocated through the funding councils.

He found that those that received the most research council funding also received the most funding council support.

Sources close to Lord May say that this could be used to simplify the dual-support system by removing the need for the RAE. Many universities would be pleased to see the back of the exercise, which they say is costly and time-consuming.

Instead, non-earmarked research money could be allocated as a percentage on top of each grant won for projects from the research councils. This system could be administered by a single body.

The Office of Science and Technology recently ran a consultation on plans to reform the dual-support system to put university research on a sustainable footing. At the same time, the funding council ran a consultation on Sir Gareth Roberts' proposals to reform the RAE.

Lord May is expected to say that these two consultations failed to coordinate.

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