Stars in their eyes

March 14, 2003

Further evidence of the rift between ministers and mandarins emerged last week as the English higher education budgets were set for the coming year. While the white paper refers to the very best research departments as being 6* and as having a "critical mass" of researchers, the Higher Education Funding Council for England dubbed them 5**, perhaps as a reference to the way they were identified - by gaining the top 5* grade in both the 1996 and 2001 rounds of the research assessment exercise.

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