35 results
Date Name

A kinder, gentler REF? Reflections on Stern

Reflections to the Stern Review from across the sector, including James Wilsdon, Pam Tatlow, Jamie Arrowsmith, Martin McQuillan, Maddalaine Ansell, and Martin Paul Eve.

A new manifesto for UK research

As the University Alliance announce a new doctoral training alliance and report in to research and innovation, new Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell sets out her manifesto for the future of UK research.

BIS, metrics and non-selective QR allocation

Following a government tender that appears to look at research metrics, Martin Eve asks what the government is up to and whether this latest move could herald a metrics-based policy shift.

Confessions of a concentratist

I have a confession to make. During my days at Russell Group institutions I favoured the research concentration tendency; that is, the view that it would be better if fewer universities were funded by central government to undertake research. I now understand that I was wrong. There, I’ve said it. And I’m sorry.

Debating the future of research

The REF submission deadline has finally arrived. But it’s only the beginning for researchers, departments and universities that have gambled big and need a good result. The results will make or break many universities’ ambitions and long-term strategic plans. The REF’s importance to the sector, or the impact on it cannot be overstated. But it’s not just the REF looming large on policymaker’s minds. With severe pressure on the whole of the BIS budget and many outstanding issues to resolve, will the next Parliament afford the opportunity for a far-reaching debate to help shape the next long term settlement for research and science in the UK?

Dimensions of quality research

Does high performance on an academic scale co-occur with high performance in terms of societal impact? Steven Hill looks at dimensions of measuring quality in research.

Enjoy your REF, while you can

This week the results of the latest cycle of research audit in UK universities will be published. This will trigger a frenzy of analysis as the bones of REF 2014 are picked over with a view to identifying winners and losers, risers and fallers, and what if anything it might mean for the future. Martin McQuillan looks at how research funding has been treated by this Government and what future for the process is there in a time of increasing austerity.

HEFCE launches consultation on REF2021

As HEFCE launch its consultation to take forward the Stern Review and implement the next Research Excellence Framework for 2021 we take a look at the key proposals and debates that are likely to follow.

How do you solve a problem like REF 2021?

‘Whole staff submission’ to the next REF is reputedly a red line for the universities minister. How is this to be reconciled with a sector that believes it is unworkable and undesirable? Martin McQuillan investigates.

How should academics respond to the TEF?

How should academics respond to the TEF – constructively in a way that has a chance of influencing the measures that are eventually implemented?

Is it time for a 5* category in the REF?

Will the changes proposed by Lord Stern make it too easy for REF assessments to achieve 100% 4* submissions? Simon Kerridge asks if we need a 5* rating.

Making an impact?

What do social policy at UCL, civil engineering at Cardiff and communications at LSE, have in common with psychology at the University of East London, history at Hertfordshire and English at Bedfordshire? Answer: they are all making a big difference to our lives, according to the 2014 REF.

Making staff selection work in REF 2021

Institutional ‘significance tests’ for REF staff selection may be the solution the thorny issues presented by the Stern Review. Tom Frostick explains how it could work.

Rankings, data, tables and spin

Nothing brings out the creative instincts of universities like a new set of research assessments. After 24 hours of rankings, tables and spin, John O’Leary looks at the new data from HESA which allows us to measure intensity and reflect on the true state of the research rankings.

REF 2014 Research Power Ranking

The REF 2014 results are now out, six years to the day since the last round. While there are many, many ways to calculate rankings from the data – GPA, “Gold Medals” and Market Share for example – arguably one of the more convincing ones is Research Power.

REF 2014 Sector Results 1

Wonkhe has crunched the numbers and here is a ranking of UK higher education institutions based on their grade point average from the 2014 REF.

REF 2014 Sector Results 2 – Intensity

Here we published the first all-important measure of research ‘intensity’ across the sector which is calculated by measuring the percentage of eligible staff entered in to the REF. This is drawn from the HESA data released after the REF results which showed the total full-time equivalents (FTE) of staff identified as eligible to be submitted to the REF 2014 by HE provider and REF Unit of Assessment.

REF results marred by fears over grade inflation

As the 2014 REF is published, widespread concerns are expressed in the sector that a level of grade inflation has artificially skewed the overall results. This has led to fears, from lots of different corners of the sector, over the for the future of the exercise itself and the funding that underpins it. John O’Leary brings together the sector and funder reactions to the 2014 REF results.

Speaking a common language

As UK universities gird themselves for publication of the first Research Excellence Framework results, Stevie Upton reflects on the difference between US and UK approaches to policy making and thinking and how academics write for policy makers – with lessons to learn for wonks on both sides of the Atlantic.

Stern review: responses collected

Lord Stern’s review of the REF has closed, and we await the final report. In the meantime, we are collecting the sector’s responses. Many have already made them available. If you would like to add yours to the list, please drop us an email.

Stern times ahead for REF game players

As the REF2021 consultation gets into gear, Martin McQuillan argues that tnstitutions and academics who support Stern’s reforms to the REF will soon regret their masochism.

Teaching and research: A zero-sum game?

There is a long history of research investigating the relationship between research aptitude and teaching ability, within both an individual and collective context. In the aftermath of the 2014 REF, David Morris digs more deeply in to the relationship between NSS and REF – or research and teaching, with some surprising results and some new data to share.

TEF, REF and lessons from history

Looking back to the origins of the REF, Tom Bailey ponders the coming TEF and asks whether what may start out as a light-touch regime could one day follow the history of the REF and the gain complexity and burden for which its cousin in measuring research excellence is often criticised for.