The number of academics recruited on 0.2 contracts during the past two years has risen by nearly two-thirds, although overall levels remain relatively low, a Times Higher Education investigation can reveal.
Academics submitted to the 2014 research excellence framework must be employed on contracts specifying working hours of at least 20 per cent of their full-time equivalents. But observers fear that some universities may be recruiting significant numbers of foreign-based researchers on 0.2 contracts as a cheap and easy way to “game” REF scores.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, THE asked 131 UK universities how many academics they have recruited on 0.2 contracts since 31 October 2011 – two years prior to the census date for the REF.
They were also asked for figures for the previous two-year period as a comparator.
The 105 institutions that provided figures within the statutory time limit have recruited 1,139 academics on 0.2 contracts since October 2011.
This compares with 699 during the previous two years: a rise of 63 per cent.
Only 17 institutions recruited fewer academics on 0.2 contracts during the most recent two-year period. These include Click here for a full list of the responses from universities to the THE survey