Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Staffordshire University

  1.  The assessment process in 2001 was well managed and transparent. The manner in which panels operated and the evidence we have concerning the number of publications actually read gives us some confidence in the process itself. We continue to be concerned that aspects of research more closely linked to the New Universities still does not receive adequate recognition in quality measures.

  2.  As far as the outcomes of the exercise are concerned, we wish to emphasise the significant improvements in research performance across the sector as a whole and within the New University sector in particular. This represents a real improvement of research across the country and one which results from:

    —  a more focused approach to research in institutions

    —  significant improvement in research management in institutions

    —  in the case of the New Universities, an impressively efficient approach to research.

  3.  The efficiency of the research project in the New Universities is based on a significantly lower level of funding than for the sector as a whole. The total resource for the New Universities for example is less than the HEFCE Research Grant for the University of Oxford. This resource produced an increase from 50 to just less than 500 researchers in grade 5 units over the period 1996-2001.

  4.  The work of universities such as ours is particularly important to the national research effort in Art and Design and Health, both areas fundamental to the future of the country. Much of this work takes place in pockets in institutions, some of which have specialised.

  5.  Many aspects of our work require research underpinning. Our research and development work with companies and communities will be undermined without the funding to maintain the research input. Equally, if we are to maintain high levels of teaching to inspire our growing student community we must ensure that research and scholarship are encouraged and funded.

  6.   We are increasingly concerned that the value of the research undertaken in institutions such as Staffordshire, and in particular the significant improvement in the quality of that research, will go unrewarded. More importantly, a reduction of funding, implied in the recent comments of the HEFCE Board, will create major difficulties in many aspects of our mission. The RAE has demonstrated the world excellence of British research. It will be enhanced by relatively small additional funds being available to ensure a future for excellent research in institutions such as ours.

Professor Howard Green

Dean, Research and Graduate School

16 January 2002

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