Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Hefce Warning on Micromanaging Research Cash

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Hefce Warning on Micromanaging Research Cash

Article excerpt

A senior figure in the Higher Education Funding Council for England has cautioned against any move to make universities spell out in detail how they would spend block grant research funding as part of a rejigged research excellence framework.

Steven Hill, head of research policy at Hefce, alerted delegates at a conference in London last week to a "rather interesting" question posed in a call for evidence from the ongoing review of the REF, which assesses research quality, led by the president of the British Academy, Lord Stern.

"Much of the REF focuses on the retrospective analysis of success achieved by institutions either through output or impact. Yet the resources provided anticipate continued success based on that track record," it notes.

"How can the REF better address the future plans of institutions and how they will utilise quality related funding obtained through the exercise?" the call for evidence asks.

Basing QR funding on future plans, rather than just the quality and impact of past research as assessed by the REF, would be a "big departure" from the current system, Dr Hill told Science, Innovation and the UK Research Budget, hosted by Policy-UK on 25 February. …

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