No. 19 of Session 2003-04, dated 11 February 2004

Follow-up inquiry:

Research Assessment Exercise

The Science and Technology Committee announces an inquiry into research assessment in UK universities in response to the proposals from the Higher Education Funding Councils that were unveiled today. This will follow up the Committee's report on the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), published in April 2002.

The Committee concluded in its report that the RAE needed to be reformed to make it fairer, avoid perverse incentives and impose fewer costs on institutions. It felt the RAE should continue, but only as a part of a broader higher education research funding strategy in which its side effects and disadvantages were offset by other mechanisms.

The Committee invites submissions to the inquiry on the Funding Councils' proposals. These should consider whether the new scheme will provide a robust and reliable system of research assessment, the burden and cost it places on higher education institutions and the implications for higher education more generally.

Chairman of the Committee, Dr Ian Gibson, said, "The RAE seems to get academics wound up like nothing else. We need to find out if the Funding Councils' new scheme will be just as unpopular. Will it solve the RAE's many problems or will it simply create different ones? Or will universities simply find new ways of playing the RAE game?".

The deadline for submissions is 19 April 2004. The Committee plans to take oral evidence in May.

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Notes for Editors

Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Committee is empowered to examine the Aexpenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies@. The Committee was appointed on 12 November 2001.

The Science and Technology Committee's Report on the Research Assessment  (HC 507) was its second of the 2001-02 session. It was published on 25 April 2002.