Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Memorandum from Professor Chris Hawes, Director of Biology Research at Oxford Brookes University

  I am writing to you in my capacity as Director of Biology Research here at Oxford Brookes, as I and many of my colleagues are getting increasingly concerned about the research funding policies being pursued by Hefce, which are threatening to further damage the UK science base. I was extremely saddened to discover the other week that Hefce now intends to phase out funding for research students in departments rated 3a in the last RAE. This is an extremely retrograde step that once again will have an adverse effect on postgraduate training across the UK and will further concentrate science research in fewer so called research active universities. This policy is an insult to the scientists and lecturers in departments such as mine that are carrying out excellent externally funded research (both Research Council and industry funded) and have a long record of training PhD students to a high level. Indeed would the Research Councils fund us if we were deemed incapable as Hefce is suggesting by its actions? There must be many departments and research groups across the UK that are threatened by Hefce's actions which will undoubtedly stifle the development of any emerging research in such units and further deprive undergraduate scientists of any interaction with the research environment.

  Enclosed is a copy of a letter I have written to Hefce asking them to reconsider this policy. I believe the time has come where a stand has to be taken against Hefce's policy of starving high quality research groups of research funding just because they are not in a highly rated RAE unit. Indeed one could interpret Hefce's action as a deliberate policy to stop newer research active departments from achieving the success they deserve. Can I ask your Committee to look closely at what many scientists in the UK now perceive to be the ill informed policies of the funding council, when you scrutinise the methods of research funding distribution.

February 2005

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Prepared 11 April 2005