‘User’-friendly REF panels to gauge impact

Hefce reveals 215 assessors chosen from outside academy

June 20, 2013

More than one in five of those sitting in judgement on the quality of scholarly work in the 2014 research excellence framework will not be academics but instead will be drawn from companies, the government and organisations such as charities.

This is more than double the proportion of research “users” who were included on panels in the final research assessment exercise and is part of the government’s controversial drive to increase the importance of research “impact”.

In the 2008 RAE, the forerunner of the REF, just under 10 per cent of panellists were research “users”.

But in 2014, 20 per cent of overall results will depend on the assessments of research’s impact outside the academy, be it on the economy, society or wider culture. As a result, the number of research users is being increased to reflect this proportion.

On 20 June, 215 new assessors, mainly drawn from outside universities, were announced to “augment the expertise” of the 770 panellists already confirmed, most of them academics, although at the time of going to press their identities had not been revealed.

People from businesses and the public sector will be represented, according to a statement issued by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, as well as figures from charities, thinktanks, the media, libraries, galleries and polling organisations.

Hefce says there will be “significantly more” research users on panels compared with the final RAE.

The users “will help to assess the impact that universities’ research has had on the economy, society and culture”, it adds.

Another 50 panel members are being sought “to fill some remaining gaps in expertise”, the statement says.

On average there will be around six user members on each of the 36 research subpanels, which will assess different areas of scholarship.

The results of the REF will determine how much money each university receives in quality-related research funding, which will total more than £1 billion in England in 2013-14.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree
A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy