As the 2014 REF results are published, Mark Leach looks at where they sit in the wider effort to fund and support research. With so much on the table in spending review negotiations in the next few years, the next steps will prove critical in shaping the future of the REF exercise and the research base it supports.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Next week, we are expecting the government to launch their long-awaited Innovation & Research strategy. Still suffering whiplash from the HE White Paper, there are those in the sector feeling nervous about what might be coming. But do they need to be?