Britain's Royal Society told the government on Thursday (August 17) that it needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with better proposals for reforming a system that allocates money to universities for scientific research.The current Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) uses panels of experts to assess the quality of each university department's research and allocate funds from the UK's four higher education funding bodies. But it is widely viewed as a burdensome and costly system.In its place, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has proposed using simpler models that rely on quantitative measures, such as the level of outside funding a department gets, to distribute funds. The Royal Society objects to the proposal. "We think peer review is an essential part of whatever replaces the RAE," Royal Society Spokesman Bob Ward told The Scientist. "You shouldn't just rely on a mechanistic formula for distributing...

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