The Reporter
Issue 488, 24 February 2003
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Honours | Chairs

Letters

Send your letters to editor of the Reporter, Vanessa Bridge. Email the.reporter@leeds.ac.uk or send by internal post to press office, 12.67 E C Stoner building

 

Dear Drs Brydson and Hammond

Engineering Inequality

I am writing in response to your letter published in the January edition of the Reporter.

The University’s resource allocation model consists of two main components: funding for teaching and funding for research. Funding for teaching is driven by the volume of activity measured in terms of student FTEs, whilst funding for research is driven by the volume of activity (measured by the numbers of academic staff selected as research active, of research assistants and fellows, of research students and expenditure on awards from charities) and the quality of activity as determined in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.

Although it may seem harsh in an area experiencing recruitment difficulties that the funding for teaching is driven by student numbers but the University is in turn funded according to its success or otherwise in recruiting students. Many resource centres, including your own, look to attract students by identifying new areas for undergraduate provision thus growing by changing the way they do things. For Home/EU students, funding per student FTE is weighted according to the type of teaching delivered by a particular department - laboratory-based subjects attract more funding than classroom-based subjects. Although the University’s funding model is not driven by the HEFCE methodology, funding for science and engineering students in the Leeds model is closely aligned to the amount of HEFCE grant and tuition fee income associated with these students. The need for laboratory and workshop accommodation is reflected in the higher units of resource.

The funding model reflects the rating achieved in the Research Assessment Exercise but the Government has not so far fully funded the outcome, only the position of 5* departments has been protected. It is hoped that there will be some additional funding for grade 5 departments announced in the grant letter for 2003/04 and if this is the case it will be passed on to grade 5 departments through the University’s research funding formula.

Much of the research income brought in by departments is to cover the direct costs of research so the £5M brought in 2002 for research contracts will have largely been spent directly on that research. As the Transparency Review has made explicit, unless overhead recoveries are more than 100%, a department cannot sustain itself without an appropriate balance of teaching and research activity.

Resource centres are encouraged to release space to encourage better utilisation of space across the University thereby ensuring that new building is kept to a minimum. It is expected that SRIF2 money can be directed towards the existing infrastructure rather than new build as a result of a number of resource centres consolidating their space. Some science and engineering departments occupy much more space than the norms based space entitlements suggest and although these norms need to be used with caution they are still a useful indicator of a department’s requirements. Where departments occupy space in excess of these norms, they are encouraged to find alternative ways of using space so that some may be released for others to use.

I trust these points provide a useful background in understanding the University’s funding model.

Yours sincerely

Judith Gaunt

Office of the Academic Registrar
Academic Planning and Performance Office

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