Responding to the RAE.

The National Postgraduate Committee notes:
1. The Research Assessment Exercise which aims to set a benchmark of UK research quality.
2. The Reform of Higher Education Research Assessment and Funding consultation ending the 13th October 2006.
3. The RAE works by giving institutions conducting the best research a larger proportion of the research available grant so that the infrastructure for the top level of research in the UK is protected and developed.
4. The RAE provides quality ratings for research across all disciplines. Panels use a standard scale to award a rating for each submission ranging from 1 to 5, according to how much of the work is judged to reach national or international levels of excellence.

The National Postgraduate Committee believes:
1. The net effect of successive RAEs on research practices and on the overall quality of UK research has been beneficial.
2. At certain levels of aggregation, the distribution of Quality-Related (QR) funding is well correlated with research income from other sources.
3. That there are implications for conducting the RAE in scale and cost.
4. That science and technology subjects should adopt a greater or wholly metrics-based approach.
5. That arts and humanities subjects should remain largely peer reviewed and adopt a minimum of metrics-based assessment.
6. That changes to the RAE should focus on the training and development of researchers alongside QAA auditing to develop and ensure quality research is taking place.
7. That there should be a strong focus on the transfer of knowledge. Knowledge transfer through informing society should be incentivised.
8. That alongside refereed journal publications there should be an encouragement of the dissemination of knowledge through textbooks and other publications.
9. That there should be an encouragement to equality of opportunity in recruiting and training researchers.
10. That there may be implications for new PhD students as departments may seek more experienced researchers than training researchers to build up their metric output.
11. That a focus on metrics may disadvantage teaching based institutions who will focus less on publications.

The National Postgraduate Committee resolves:*
1. To respond to the consultation outlining our beliefs.

Proposed by Simon Felton (NPC General Secretary).