FUNDING THE RAE
60. The RAE is not in itself a funding mechanism
but is used as a means of implementing a policy of selective funding.
The aim is to measure the quality of research in different departments
in order to reward excellence where it occurs and encourage its
development in others. HEFCE calculates the QR research grant
to each university by employing a weighting formula, with the
more highly rated departments attracting the highest weighting.
The lowest rated departments may receive no QR funding. In addition,
each subject is assigned to one of three cost weights: high cost
laboratory and clinical subjects; intermediate cost subjects;
and others. In 1997-2001, these weights were 1.7, 1.3 and 1.0
respectively. Following data produced by the Higher Education
Statistics Agency, high cost subjects will be weighted 1.6 from
2002-03. A final weighting is made for the volume of research
being conducted. The principal factor is the number of 'research
active' academic staff funded from general departmental funds
(counting as '1') but allowance is also made for research assistants
(0.1), research fellows (0.1), postgraduate students (0.15) and
charitable income (0.228 per £25,000 received).
61. The allocation for each UoA is calculated according
to the number of active researchers submitted in that subject.
This means that a 5* department in a UoA with large numbers of
other 5* departments will get less per active researcher than
a high performing department in a less successful UoA.
For example, given two UoAs with the same number of researchers,
if UoA X has nine 5* departments and UoA Y has three, each 5*
department in UoA Y will receive more funding than each 5* department
in UoA X.
62. Universities are not obliged to spend their Funding
Council block grant on any particular departments. In theory at
least, a university could close down a 5* department and spend
the money elsewhere, for example in an attempt to bring a low-rated
department up the scale in the next RAE. In practice, however,
we understand that, in general, universities use the RAE ratings
as a means of distributing their grant internally, not least because
this avoids internal arguments.
109 Ev 10, para 6 Back