Research Assessment Exercise

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An evaluation of the research and publication carried out in institutions of higher education which is undertaken every four years in order to determine the level of funding which will be awarded. It is conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland. The assessment for each academic field is made by a specialist sub‐panel. The research and publications of each department or faculty within the institution are scrutinized and evaluated against criteria set by the funding body. Each department, therefore, must decide which of its staff to enter for the exercise in order to gain as high a score as possible. Those departments or faculties whose score falls below a predetermined level will receive no government funding for research for the following four years. The quest for a high RAE rating will often influence decisions about academic appointments, as applicants with a lengthy and prestigious list of publications to their name will be much sought after. Some academics have suggested that the RAE is flawed in that it perpetuates inequalities of status between pre‐ and post‐1992 universities. Since the emphasis in many of the latter has been on teaching rather than on research, some, it is claimed, are hampered in building up a sound research base as the most able researchers are drawn to posts where funding for research is assured. See also journal, academic.

http://www.rae.ac.uk/panels/ A list of subjects and fields for which there are sub‐panels.

Subjects: Education.

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