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Government has it wrong over future of research funding, says poll of academics

12 October 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

More than four fifths of academics (81 per cent) do not support government proposals for the future of research funding, according to a poll released today by UCU.

The government announced earlier this year that the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) would be scrapped after 2008. However, the only possible options that have been put forward as a replacement involve moving to metrics to assess research, an option that 81 per cent of academics are against.

The survey also reveals that over two fifths of academics (41 per cent) believe the government should abandon plans to stick with the 2008 RAE and scrap it immediately. The poll coincides with a major UCU conference today where academics will debate what they feel needs to happen to really improve research funding.

Although pleased the government announced the scrapping of the RAE after 2008, the union has expressed its concern that the people most affected by the changes, the staff, have not been allowed to have any real input into what should replace it.

At the conference later today, UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt will say: 'The RAE is a fundamentally flawed system which has done enormous damage to research, scholarship and teaching in higher education. It has led to the unfair treatment of staff, particularly women, and to departmental closures and job losses.

'Academics are keen for a change from the RAE, but metrics are not the right change. In fact, they are a step backwards. The main problem with the government review is its narrowness - both in terms of its remit and its apparent domination by government interests. It is incredible that proposals were drawn up without any representation from the people who do the research. Although the voice of the profession is absent from the government proposals, we will continue to press for it to be properly heard.'

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