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Big unis, big losers?

Several top UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, stand to lose millions of pounds in research funding as a result of last year's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Britain's major review of research quality. However, other institutions that focus less on research may see an increase in funding, setting off accusations that the two tiers of schools could be engaging in "class warfare." On December 18, the RAE released its linkurl:rankings;http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/20

By | January 20, 2009

Several top UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, stand to lose millions of pounds in research funding as a result of last year's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), Britain's major review of research quality. However, other institutions that focus less on research may see an increase in funding, setting off accusations that the two tiers of schools could be engaging in "class warfare." On December 18, the RAE released its linkurl:rankings;http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2008/dec/18/rae-2008-results-uk-universities for each UK university, which the government will use to calculate how to divvy up a £1.5 billion ($2.1 million) annual pot of research funding.
The RAE scores are drawn from the deliberations of more than 1,000 experts who assess the quality of around 200,000 pieces of work submitted by 159 research institutions over the past six years. The official government handouts will be announced in March. But according to confidential calculations using the released RAE metrics sent to the universities by Research Fortnight, a publication of the linkurl:Research Research;http://www.researchresearch.com/entry/entry.htm news group, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge could each see a cut of around £8.5 million ($11.9 million) per year. Imperial College London, University College London, and the universities of Manchester and Southampton could also be hit hard. The RAE's revised mandate to "reward quality wherever it is found" could lead to a redistribution of funds to universities at the bottom, most of which fell below previous thresholds for funding. For example, the University of Wolverhampton could see its funding rise from £138,000 ($192,000) per year to £2.4 million ($3.3 million). Critics, however, warned against spreading the research coffers too thinly, forcing all schools to settle for mediocrity, not excellence. "Only truly top-flight institutions will attract and keep the international pioneers in their fields," said linkurl:Wendy Piatt,;http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/contacts/wendy-piatt.html director-general of the linkurl:Russell Group,;http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/ a collaboration of 20 of the UK's top universities, according to the__ linkurl:Times.;http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5537316.ece
**Related stories:__***linkurl:Grants without peer review?;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/blog/55282/
[12th December 2008]*linkurl:Objections to UK funding proposal;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/24333/
[17th August 2006]*linkurl:UK plans research funding overhaul;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23683/
[20th June 2006] __Image: flickr/gavin_day's photostream__

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Avatar of: Ellen Hunt

Ellen Hunt

Posts: 199

January 21, 2009

£1.5 billion = $2.057 billion
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