Proposed by BUGS
Seconded by Simon Felton

Submitted 30/05/06

NPC Notes

1) The announcement of Gordon Brown in the Budget of 22nd March that the RAE would be abandoned after 2008.

2) The treasury statement that the government's firm presumption is that after the 2008 RAE the system for assessing research quality and allocating 'quality-related' (QR) funding from the DfES [Department for Education and Skills] will be mainly metrics based (Research exercise to be scrapped, Guardian, 22 March 2006).

NPC Believes

1) The RAE has made funding very selective, as it was intended to do and concentrates research money on a university elite.

2) Peer review is one of a number of methods of assessing academic quality which has benefits and problems.

3) Metrics would allow grants to be allocated according to an academics citations or volume of research papers but ideally an academic's papers should be read and their citations counted rather than being judged on the title of a journal.

4) That scrapping the RAE would reduce the administrative burden on institutions.

5) Concentration of funding towards higher rated departments is destructive to other valued aspects of a department including teaching and emerging research.

6) That it is crucial that future public funding research policy sustains research across the higher education sector and supports not only 'blue skies' research, but also user-focused research and innovation, which the chancellor has identified as being of vital importance to the international competitiveness of the UK (Michael Driscoll cited in Research exercise to be scrapped, Guardian, 22 March 2006).

7) That if the RAE is cancelled, its planned assessing of the development of researchers and promoting greater equal opportunities in the research environment would be challenged

NPC Resolves

1) To work with affiliates in its response to the consultation on a replacement for RAE to ensure students get opportunities for user-focussed research and blue-skies research.

2) To ensure that any replacement to RAE and changes to research funding do not advantage science subjects to the detriment of arts and humanities subjects.

3) To ensure any replacement ensures promoting equal opportunities in the research environment is not threatened.