Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Annex C

Statement by the HEFCE on research funding in 2002-03

  1.  At its meeting on 14th December 2001 the HEFCE Board made the following decisions in relation to funding universities and colleges in 2002-03.

Research funding

  2.  The HEFCE Board agreed that total funding for research for the academic year 2002-03 will be maintained in real terms and provisionally set at £910 million.

  3.  The Board welcomed the further substantial improvement in research quality compared with the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and noted the rigour and robustness of the process in the 2001 RAE.

  4.  The Board made a number of decisions on the principles of research funding in 2002-03. It did so knowing that, because of the improvements in research quality, the amount of available resources would be insufficient to fund all departments at current levels for


  5.  The Board agreed :

    a.  To use the results of the RAE 2001 as the basis for funding research in 2002-03.

    b.  To restate its commitment to developing, sustaining and rewarding world-class research by maintaining the unit of resource for 5* departments.

    c.  To provide some funding for 3-rated departments on a basis still to be determined.

    d.  To moderate the outcomes for total funding in the first year with a system of safety nets and caps to enable institutions to manage any changes in funding, as was the case in 1997-98.

  6.  The overall improvement in research ratings, combined with the limited amount of funds, means that there will inevitably be some reduction in levels of funding for departments rated below 5*. The Board will examine the options based on these funding principles at its next meeting.

  7.  The Board placed on record its thanks to the panel members and chairs, RAE staff, and all those in universities and colleges who had contributed to the success of the exercise.

  8.  There will be a full consultation next year (2002) on the form and nature of any future assessment exercise.

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