Current research funding method
Determining the amount provided for each subject
1. The majority of the HEFCE's research
funds are provided as quality-related (QR) funding divided between
69 subject areas, or Units of Assessment (it will be 68 for the
2001 RAE). In 1998-99, QR funding was £804 million, 97.6
per cent of total HEFCE research funds. Each subject is assigned
to one of three cost weights and these are multiplied by the volume
of research activity in each subject to work out the total funding
for that subject.
2. The three cost weights are:
|A||high cost laboratory and clinical subjects
|B||intermediate cost subjects
3. The volume of research in each Unit of Assessment
is calculated using five separate components. These volume components
are weighted as follows:
4. research active academic staff1 x number of
full-time equivalent (FTE) research active academic staff funded
from general funds in departments rated 3b or above, selected
by institutions for assessment in the RAE
research assistants0.1 x number of FTE
research fellows0.1 x number of FTE research
postgraduate research students0.15 x weighted
number of postgraduate research students in their second and third
years of full-time study, or third to sixth years of part-time
research income from charitieseach £25,000
of income from charities is treated as equivalent to 0.228 of
1FTE research active member of staff.
5. The number of research active academic staff is the
most significant volume element; it accounts for about two-thirds
of the total.
Distribution of the subject totals between institutions
6. The volume of research for each institution in each
subject is measured using the same indicators as above. The subject
totals are distributed to institutions in proportion to the amount
or volume of research, multiplied by the quality of research in
that subject for each institution. Funding is therefore proportional
to volume x quality.
7. The quality of research is assessed by peer review
in a Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) conducted every four or
five years. The RAE conducted in 1996 has informed funding until
2001-02. The most recent assessment was in 2001. The RAE is the
largest single research assessment exercise in the world: in 2001
it involved nearly 50,000 researchers, from 173 institutions,
and 200,000 research outputs.
8. In 1996 each institution was awarded a rating, on
a scale of 1 to 5* (five star), for the quality of its research
in each Unit of Assessment in which it made a submission. The
table below shows how these ratings related to the HEFCE funding
provided. Ratings 1 and 2 attracted no funding, and from 3b upwards
each rating attracted 50 per cent more funding than the one below,
except 5* which attracted 20 per cent more funding than a 5 rating.
This meant that a unit with a 5* rating attracted approximately
four times as much funding as one with a rating of 3b for the
same volume of research activity. As a result, funding of research
is highly selective. In 1998-99, 75 per cent of HEFCE research
funds went to 26 HEIs.
QualityFor the purposes of the funding model, quality
is expressed as a multiplier attached to each RAE grade. For example,
in 1996 grades 1 and 2 attracted a multiplier of 0 (meaning no
funding), 3b attracted a weight of 1 and, at the top of the scale,
5* attracted a multiplier of 4.05
Volume`Volume' is the HEFCE's approximation of research
capacity. Research active staff submitted to the RAE are the main
element of volume. Research students, research assistants and
research funding from charities also contribute to the volume
measure at a lower rate.
CostAt present all subjects are placed within one
of three cost bands. At present the most expensive subjects attract
a multiplier of 1.7, intermediate subjects a multiplier of 1.3
and the least expensive a multiplier of 1.
As employed in 2001-02 using data from the 1996 RAE. Back