Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Rethink REF Boycott, Exeter Branch Urges Union

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Rethink REF Boycott, Exeter Branch Urges Union

Article excerpt

The University and College Union has been urged by some of its members to reconsider its policy of boycotting the research excellence framework.

The University of Exeter's UCU branch passed a motion last week calling on the union to "reconsider the wisdom of withdrawing from participation in the REF, which we believe is counter to the interests of the vast majority of UCU members in research-active institutions".

Any boycott of the REF - the new system for allocating about Pounds 1.6 billion in annual quality-related research funding, scheduled to begin in 2014 - could have an impact on the careers of the academics involved, as well as the level of research funding available for individual universities.

In the summer, delegates at the UCU higher education sector conference passed a motion to boycott the exercise.

The motion said that the REF would be "divisive" for staff and have an "injurious" effect on workloads, with job cuts for those deemed to be underperforming and therefore not entered into the process.

The UCU says it has about 50,000 academic members in higher education. …

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