Bitter fruits of the RAE?

March 5th, 2009 by John

In December I posted an entry about the results of the Research Assessment Exercise in the UK. Today comes the news that the funding allocations which follow the assessment have been made for England (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow later). The picture is a mixed one, as reported in The Guardian.

The exercise is a zero-sum game, so demands that there be winners and losers. It has sought to have high principles (eg rewarding research excellence wherever it is found) but nonetheless to accommodate a general trend towards the concentration of research excellence, and to protecting science, engineering and medicine. It can’t do all of these things at once, and it seems likely that there will be a lot of unhappiness at the outcome, both in the top-tier Russell Group, which has had to lose some of its funding to allow the Government to deliver on its promise to reward pockets of excellence in the rest of the sector, and at the next tier down, in the 1994 Group of Research Intensive Universities, where the need to protect science, engineering and medicine means that the rewards of their efforts will be meagre. What the impact on library budgets will be remains to be seen.

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