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Issue 482, 20 May 2002

Criticism over RAE

The government and the funding council have been criticised for not fully funding the improvements shown by the RAE 2001, in a report by the House of Commons science and technology select committee. The committee, which has been exploring alternative funding models, called on the government to fund the RAE results fully in the forthcoming spending review.

The report said: "HEFCE should have anticipated the results of RAE 2001. It should either have ensured that it had sufficient funds to reward the improvement or at least warned universities that this was not to be.

"We are not convinced of the wisdom of its decision to target its limited budget on the highest-performing departments at the expense of those which are developing. DfES must also bear some responsibility: decisions so crucial to the future of UK research and the nature of higher education should not be left to an unelected quango."

Universities UK, who gave evidence to the committee, welcomed the report's conclusions and called for increased government investment of university research. President Professor Roderick Floud described the funding of the 2001 RAE as a 'slap in the face' for universities.

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