The Government's Response to the House
of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report on the Research
1. The Committee has produced a timely report dealing
with some important issues around the Research Assessment Exercise
(RAE). This Government response sets out some general points before
responding to the specific recommendations and conclusions. The
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will respond
separately to the Report. While the RAE is UKwide and operated
on behalf of all the higher education funding bodies, the devolved
administrations are responsible for research assessment and the
funding of higher education in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This response therefore focuses on issues relating to England.
The need for excellent research
2. Research is a public good with substantial economic
and social benefits. In the UK, as in all advanced countries,
the Government funds a key segment of the nation's research effort.
Although industry and commerce have a large research commitment,
their research investment is, quite rightly, mostly nearmarket.
Business does not tend to engage in speculative basic research,
where the returns are often uncertain, longterm, and difficult
for one company to capture. Government investment is required
to provide the basic new knowledge on which further research can
build. A strong publicly funded knowledge base also has benefits
in ensuring a supply of highly skilled people with the capability
to carry out research in the public and private sectors, to innovate
and to make use of new knowledge not just from the UK but from
across the world.
3. Government funding for research is via the dual
support system. The higher education funding bodies, HEFCE in
England, provide funding to institutions. The UKwide Research
Councils provide funding for specific research programmes and
projects in their respective areas of interest. The Department
for Education and Skills (DfES) sets the overall framework and
policy objectives for HEFCE. The Council is then responsible within
that framework for devising funding mechanisms that will achieve
those policy objectives, and distributing resources provided by
DfES to institutions. The DfES also works in partnership with
the Department of Trade and Industry, in particular with the Office
of Science and Technology (OST) which funds the Research Councils,
to ensure a coordinated Government approach to the funding
4. Government funding for research will always be
limited. It must therefore be appropriately targeted. The first
priority must be to sustain and encourage world class research
which will support economic growth and improved productivity.
The RAE and the quality related funding system are mechanisms
developed to pursue this overall objective. Funding via Research
Councils also encourages excellence by awarding project funding
only to the best research, decided by a process of peer review.
Achievements of the current system
5. The UK's scientific research is very strong when
compared internationally. The UK has the second highest share
of publications and citations in the world, and is also second
in the world in 15 out of 20 scientific fields, being placed no
lower than fifth in any field. The USA has the largest share of
publications and citations in each case, but the UK is in first
place when it comes to publications and citations per £m
spent on research.
6. The system is delivering. Since its development
in the late 1980s, the RAE and quality related funding have helped
to improve the overall quality and the value for money of research
in higher education. As the Committee recognises, the RAE has
led to institutions managing their research activity more strategically
and has encouraged them to target funds at areas of research excellence.
7. The 2001 RAE results show a higher proportion
than ever of UK researchers operating at international levels
of excellence. An element of the improvement could be due to institutions
getting better at presenting themselves for the RAE. However,
citation measures also show a substantial improvement in the UK's
research standing since the mid 1990s - the proportion of UK entries
in the annual top 1 per cent of most highly cited papers in the
world increased from 11 per cent in 1995 to 18 per cent in 2000.
This suggests that a good proportion of the improvement shown
in the RAE results is genuine improvement in quality. It is welcome
that the Committee also acknowledged this in its report.
8. The Government agrees that the system does need
looking at again.
9. There will always be more demands for research
funding than the public purse can afford. The issues around the
implementation of the 2001 RAE centred both on the amount of funding
available and the way it was distributed. The Government is looking
at funding levels for research as part of the current Spending
Review. It will also be important to examine how future research
assessment and future funding decisions should fit together. However,
this cannot become a demandled budget. Total funding will
still be set in Spending Reviews and there will always be a need
to allocate limited funding in the way likely to achieve the best
10. Given the funding pressures, the Government supports
HEFCE's decision to ensure that there was no cut in funding rates,
on average, for 5* rated departments. It was most important to
ensure that these world class departments were resourced to deliver
the leading edge research of which they had shown themselves capable.
The funding distribution did however result in lower unit funding
for departments with lower ratings despite the additional £30m
DfES was able to make available. HEFCE will want to review the
distribution in the light of the resources made available to the
Council as a result of the Spending Review.
11. There are some further questions to consider
on the future development of selectivity. The quality scale now
has seven points, of which the three lower grades do not attract
HEFCE funding, while more departments than ever are bunched at
the top end of the scale where further improvement would not be
recognised. The scale needs to provide proper assessment and encouragement
for departments at all levels, and allow us to identify and properly
fund our world class research.
12. Some of the other lessons of the RAE will
also need to be considered. The Committee's report identifies
a number of ways in which the RAE may be influencing behaviour.
It is impossible to eliminate side effects and unintended outcomes
entirely from an incentive system: the aim has to be to minimise
these effects and ensure that the benefits in terms of improved
performance outweigh the disadvantages.
Next steps for research funding and assessment
13. The Government continues to believe that research
funding should encourage and strengthen excellence, and that higher
education institutions should be incentivised to continue to improve
the quality of their research following the excellent progress
in the last few years. However, the way in which the assessment
and funding system operates needs to be revisited. The next steps
a. the 2002 Spending Review settlement which
will set out the resources available until 20056, and will
be informed by the crosscutting review of science and research
b. the development of Government plans for the
evolution of the dual support system
c. the development of HEFCE's strategic plan
d. the review of the RAE.
Response to specific conclusions and recommendations
Accuracy of the RAE results
1.With such a spectacular increase in RAE ratings,
it is legitimate to ask whether the improvement is a true reflection
of the state of UK academic research and its performance over
the last five years. The evidence we have received suggests that
most in the science and education communities agree with HEFCE's
assertion that it is largely a reflection of reality (paragraph
The Government agrees with the Committee's conclusion
that the improvements in research performance as measured by the
RAE were largely genuine. Universities and higher education colleges
are to be congratulated for the high quality of their research
performance, by managing their research strategically and building
on their strengths.
2.There is concern about the noninclusion
of researchers. ... Funding should reflect the actual amount of
research and its quality over the whole department and not those
deemed active. Universities should have no incentive to omit any
researchers (paragraph 24).
3.There is concern that by moving researchers
between UoAs or splitting and merging departments universities
can improve ratings without any improvements in quality (paragraph
4.There is concern that transfers between institutions
can distort the RAE results (paragraph 27).
Any quality assurance system has a tendency to encourage
those being assessed to present themselves in the best possible
way, and the RAE is no different. However, the overall effect
of the RAE has been to improve higher education research performance.
The RAE has encouraged universities to manage their research strategically
and focus on their strengths, bringing real improvements in quality
in the sector. They have also focused on staffing and have been
made aware of the importance of recruiting, retaining and supporting
the top researchers on whom research excellence depends. Government
will ensure that these and other issues raised by the Committee
are considered in the forthcoming review of the RAE.
5. There are concerns about the way the panels
operated and their membership (paragraph 28).
6. We recommend that, in any future RAE, HEFCE
provide panel members with more effective administrative support.
Ensuring the validity of the results is money well spent (paragraph
The way the panels operate is crucial to the success
of the RAE. It is important to ensure that the process is effective
at objectively judging the quality of research. That does mean
that members should be drawn from a wide range of interests, should
have the right knowledge and bring an appropriate mix of perspectives.
Strong administrative support is required. It is particularly
important to include users such as business people, and to bring
an international perspective to bear. The 2001 RAE had more user
representatives than the 1996 exercise, and there was a new mechanism
for international verification of results, but there may well
be scope for still more emphasis on breadth in future.
7. With the above reservations we accept
the widespread view that the RAE ratings reflect an improvement
in UK higher education research (paragraph 31).
The Government agrees with this conclusion. The RAE
2001 ratings reflect real improvements in research quality.
Effects of the RAE
8. Most of the evidence we have received has suggested
that the RAE has had a beneficial effect on research in the UK
The Government agrees that the RAE and quality related
research funding have encouraged improved performance.
9. We have heard of concerns that the RAE has
imposed large costs and bureaucracy on universities, hampered
teaching, distorted research practice, led to neglect of universities'
other activities and severely damaged academics' morale (paragraph
10. If HEFCE believes in the value of the RAE,
it should establish clearly how much it costs and show why it
is worth it. We recommend that, as part of its review of the RAE,
HEFCE establish with accuracy the cost of the RAE 2001 and publish
costings and an explanation of how these were calculated (paragraph
The Government agrees that there should be no unnecessary
bureaucracy in the assessment of research. The aim is to get better
research for the public money available, not to waste resources
through excessive burdens on institutions. It will be important,
as part of the forthcoming review, to look at the cost of the
RAE and the extent to which it provides value for money. It will
also be important to examine the extent to which the system does
influence institutions' behaviour, and to minimise inappropriate
effects in future.
11. The RAE has undoubtedly brought benefits but
it has also caused collateral damage. It has damaged staff careers
and it has distracted universities from their teaching, community
and economic development roles. Higher education should encourage
excellence in all these areas, not just in research. Universities
should be assessed on a balanced scorecard (paragraph 59).
If peers assess research we expect them to come out
with honest judgements on quality. Those judgements may not always
fit with the aspirations of staff, departments or indeed institutions,
but that open assessment is important in achieving our research
objectives. The RAE has no doubt strongly influenced university
management practice and strategic priorities, and has brought
a strong focus to research. The Government wants to see excellence
in teaching standards, knowledge transfer and widening participation
as well. HEFCE is reconsidering its funding model with these aims
in mind, and Government will consider the interaction between
HEFCE funding and other relevant streams e.g. DTI/OST funding
for knowledge transfer.
12. Some of the most outstanding achievements
in UK science have resulted from long periods of research with
no outputs ... We are concerned that the RAE process may discourage
longterm research of a highly speculative nature and stifle
scientific breakthroughs (paragraph 37).
13. While we accept that publication practice
is somewhat different in the humanities, we believe that the shorter
period of assessment for the sciences discriminates against scientists
involved in longterm research. We suggest that seven years
would be a more reasonable period of assessment for the sciences
as well as the humanities (paragraph 38).
Long term and speculative work is important. Institutions'
RAE related funding does in fact provide them with continuing,
entirely flexible funding which can be used to carry out this
sort of work on their own initiative - including research which
Research Councils and other project sponsors are not willing to
fund. The review of the RAE will need to consider how frequently
assessment takes place, the eligibility period for different subjects,
and to what degree 'research in progress' should be assessed.
14. We recommend that HEFCE ensure that its quality
assessment does not discourage or disadvantage interdisciplinary
research. Such research offers some of the most fertile ground
for innovation and discovery (paragraph 39).
Interdisciplinary research can be particularly valuable
and should be encouraged. The RAE process was modified in 2001
to allow for interdisciplinary research to be considered more
effectively. It will be important to evaluate the mechanisms used
in 2001 carefully in looking to ensure that interdisciplinary
research is properly assessed in future.
15. We recommend that HEFCE keep unit boundaries
under review to ensure that subjects of increasing importance
are fairly assessed (paragraph 40).
The Government agrees with this aim, and the issue
will be considered in the review of the RAE.
Morale and careers
16. It is clear that the RAE has had a negative
effect on university staff morale. Any future research assessment
mechanism must be able to give a fair appraisal of the research
without tempting universities to continue the divisive and demoralising
practice of excluding some academics from the process (paragraph
At present it is for individual institutions to decide
which staff they submit to the RAE. How this should be handled
in a future RAE mechanism is a matter to be considered in the
17. We welcome HEFCE's imminent research project
into women in higher education research and recommend that it
should analyse RAE data as part of this study. It is vital that
women's research careers are not further impeded (paragraph 42).
The Government agrees with this recommendation and
looks forward to seeing the results of this project. The Government
places a great deal of importance on equal opportunities in HE.
Like other employers HEIs are responsible for ensuring they implement
equal opportunities legislation and fair employment policies.
18. The RAE may not be the primary cause of departmental
closures [in science and engineering] but we suspect that it is
a contributory factor. Nationally important research that makes
a major contribution to the economy must not be destroyed because
of trends in student demand (paragraph 44).
Higher education institutions make their own decisions
on their internal structure, the courses they offer and the research
they carry out. This academic autonomy is fundamental to the HE
system and helps ensure that the system is adaptable and independent.
The supply of science and engineering talent is of
great importance to the UK. The Government commissioned Sir Gareth
Roberts to review this area and is currently considering the recommendations
of his recently published report.
19. In our view, it is better to address national
research priorities through a funding mechanism rather than by
tinkering with the assessment process. HEFCE should protect or
enhance key research areas by changing the cost weightings for
some UoAs or by introducing ringfenced funding (paragraph
The Government agrees that national research priorities
should not be addressed through the assessment process. The Committee's
report refers to the DfES suggestion of further discrimination
between departments currently rated 5*. The intention would not
be to discriminate according to the importance of the subject
area, but rather according to quality. National priorities are
currently addressed through other funding routes rather than through
HEFCE. The Research Councils are a key mechanism for doing this,
for example the Government made an additional £250 million
available at the last Spending Review to focus on priorities such
as genomics, escience and basic technology. The cost weightings
used by HEFCE are a mechanism to avoid distortion by reflecting
the relative costs of research in different subjects, rather than
an incentive mechanism.
Neglect of teaching and other university activities
20. The RAE, and the funding decisions based on
it, create incentives for universities that could lead to them
neglecting other areas of their functions: teaching; community
involvement; commercial activity; and research in local or regional
significance. This may have major implications for the nature
of UK universities (paragraph 46).
21. It is not for the RAE to reward teaching,
but there must be a counterincentive to promote good teaching
and encourage good teachers. We believe that there must be financial
incentives for improving the quality of teaching but that the
burdens and problems of measuring teaching quality are such that
funding based on it should be a last resort. HEFCE and universities
must work together to provide wellpaid and prestigious career
positions for academics who are primarily teachers (paragraph
The Government agrees that research excellence is
only one focus for higher education institutions. Other Government
aims are to widen participation, promote high quality teaching
and ensure effective knowledge transfer. Institutions should be
encouraged to focus on their strengths, and all higher education
institutions will not operate at the same level on each of these
areas. HEFCE is reviewing the funding model to provide appropriate
financial incentives across the range of Government priorities.
The Government provides three times as much funding
for teaching as it does for research via HEFCE. The 2000 Spending
Review plans included resources to support increases in academic
and nonacademic pay: an additional £50 million in 200102,
rising to £110 million in 20023 and £170 million
22. We are supportive of highquality teaching
in a highquality research environment and find it hard to
see how this can be reconciled with the concept of a teaching-only
university (paragraph 51).
23. If the best researchers are concentrated in
a small number of departments, we risk losing the next generation
of scientists. At a time when the Government is concerned about
the supply of scientists in the economy, HEFCE should be encouraging
highquality research wherever there is teaching (paragraph
Teaching does need to be in touch with the forefront
of the academic subject but this can be achieved through scholarship
as well as through research. The Government's priority for research
is to support the best work wherever it is found, and to maintain
and develop high quality departments so that they can continue
to compete with the best in the world. Within the available resources
for research it is vital that a policy of selective funding is
pursued. If resources were spread thinly enough to encourage research
wherever there is teaching, it would endanger the UK's world class
research performance and represent poor value for money from the
24. We are concerned that the pressures
placed on academics, not least through the RAE, make community
involvement less likely (paragraph 53).
Higher education institutions have an important role
to play in their communities. Some aspects of this role are encouraged
through specific initiatives such as the Active Community Fund
and the Higher Education ReachOut to Business and the Community
25. We recommend that, in its review of the RAE,
HEFCE consider the impact of the RAE on knowledge transfer activity,
and investigate whether panels have accorded due status to industrial
research outputs. The Government wishes to encourage industrial
collaboration and the commercialisation of research and HEFCE
must ensure that the RAE does not undermine this (paragraph 54).
The Government is committed to promoting knowledge
transfer between the higher education sector and industry, and
is aware of criticism that the RAE acts as a disincentive. The
definition of research that applies to the RAE includes "work
of direct relevance to the needs of industry and commerce"
and acceptance of this type of work has developed over the life
of the RAE. HEFCE increased the representation of industrialists
on panels for the 2001 RAE and emphasised that research products
of all types including patents, designs, new products and devices,
and commercial and technical reports could be included. DfES will
ensure that HEFCE evaluates the results of this in the RAE 2001
submissions and results. There are separate funding streams, particularly
the Higher Education Innovation Fund, which provide resources
for knowledge transfer. The Crosscutting Review of Science
and Research is considering whether more needs to be done to incentivise
HEIs to work with industry.
26.The Government may need to intervene to ensure
that research excellence is represented in the regions of the
UK, perhaps by encouraging regional networks in important subjects
Research excellence is currently represented in all
regions and this should continue. Government is encouraging better
links between HEFCE, Higher Education Institutions, Regional Development
Agencies, and other key regional stakeholders. The Crosscutting
Review of Science and Research is considering what more might
be done to promote the regional development of research excellence;
a good regional spread is particularly important.
27.Research into matters of local importance can
be vital to communities and the economy. If the RAE cannot recognise
such work a mechanism needs to be identified that will (paragraph
The Government agrees that such research is vital.
The RAE can fund this type of research. The RAE simply assesses
quality, it makes no judgement on the nature of the research HEIs
should carry out. HEIs decide how to use the money they receive.
28. HEFCE should monitor levels of investment
in infrastructure carefully and if necessary introduce a recurrent
funding stream (paragraph 57).
The Government has already demonstrated its commitment
to investment in research infrastructure with the £1,750
million made available for HE institutions and other publicly
funded research establishments, in partnership with the Wellcome
Trust, in the last two Spending Reviews. The Crosscutting
Review of Science and Research is considering research infrastructure
as part of its contribution to the spending review.
Funding the RAE
29. We believe that HEFCE was right to use RAE
2001 [to determine the research funding for 200203]: if
you have a selective mechanism for funding it should reflect the
current state of research. But we take issue with the way the
cake was cut (paragraph 69).
The Government takes note of the Committee's statement
but the priority is to support high quality research departments
so that they can maintain their positions of international excellence.
The Government therefore agrees with HEFCE's decision to prioritise
top rated departments.
30.We recommend that the Government introduce
and resource a seedcorn fund to stimulate the development of research
in new departments, as part of a strategic framework for research
funding (paragraph 71).
The Government recognises the potential benefits
of developing research in new departments. There is always a balance
to be struck between funding new research and funding research
of proven quality. At present the emphasis must remain on properly
funding research which is already of world class quality. Future
funding decisions will need to be taken in the light of the spending
31. We recommend that HEFCE introduce a more sophisticated
weighting system which accurately reflects the high costs of research
in certain scientific subjects (paragraph 73).
Funding weights should reflect the relative costs
of conducting research in different disciplines. The mechanism
for doing this is for HEFCE to keep under review. This is one
of a number of issues which HEFCE and the Research Councils will
work on closely in the future.
32. In their evidence to us, HEFCE seemed to believe
that any side effects of the RAE were unfortunate and somehow
nothing to do with them. If HEFCE has a mechanism for selective
research funding then it must take responsibility for any distortion
it causes (paragraph 58).
It is impossible to eliminate side effects and unintended
outcomes entirely from an incentive system: the aim has to be
to minimise these effects and ensure that the benefits in terms
of improved performance outweigh the disadvantages.
33. While HEFCE cannot be blamed for the
level of funding that is available for higher education research,
it must bear primary responsibility for the way the RAE funding
deficit has been handled (paragraph 74).
34. Some responsibility for the funding decisions
must lie with the DfES and with the Minister for Lifelong Learning
and Higher Education. ... The RAE and the funding decisions based
on it have major repercussions for the higher education system.
We find it hard to believe that the Minister is prepared to delegate
all that power to an unelected quango. It cannot be in the public
interest that she should do so (paragraph 75).
The Government sets the policy objectives for public
funding of higher education and provides a steer to HEFCE in the
annual remit letter. It is HEFCE's responsibility to put those
policies into effect. The RAE can never become a mechanism for
determining how much money the Government should spend on research.
That is a matter for Ministers and we accept responsibility for
funding levels. The separation of responsibilities is designed
to preserve academic independence while providing a mechanism
to improve the performance of the HE sector in line with the Government's
35. The DfES must also bear some responsibility
for the financial dilemma which HEFCE has been facing. ... We
appreciate that the Government has a number of priorities in education,
but it must not lose sight of the need to maintain and develop
an excellent research base. We welcome the Minister's commitment
to fight for a generous settlement for higher education in the
Spending Review (paragraph 76).
The Research Assessment Exercise is designed to measure
the quality of research, it is not a mechanism for determining
the total amount of funding that should be made available. In
the light of the 2001 RAE the DfES was able to provide an extra
£30m to help fund high quality research in 200203.
Funding decisions for 200304 onwards will be taken as part
of the current Spending Review.
36. We fully accept that higher education is the
responsibility of DfES, not of DTI, but we would suggest that
the Cabinet Minister for Science should take a closer interest
in the RAE and in the future of higher education research, since
it is vitally important to the future of science and technology
in the UK (paragraph 77).
The Cabinet Minister responsible for science regularly
takes advice on a range of issues relating to research funding
and assessment from the Minister for Science and Innovation, the
Chief Scientific Adviser, who is also Head of the DTI's Office
of Science & Technology, and the DirectorGeneral of
the Research Councils. The Chief Scientific Adviser is Chairman
of the Science and Engineering Base Coordinating Committee,
whose remit includes both research assessment and the development
of the UK science base.
37. Discussions about the mechanism for the allocation
of research funding are largely meaningless unless the underfunding
of university research is addressed. ¼There
is a strong case for a substantial increase in the HE research
budget. This should not be less than the £200 million per
year required to fund the RAE 2001 using the formula employed
until recently and to restore the project funding/QR ratio to
199394 levels. Borne in mind should be the chronic underfunding
in university research for much longer than this (paragraph 78).
Funding decisions for 200304 onwards will be
taken as part of the current Spending Review.
38. We welcome the science and research crosscutting
review and trust that it will spell out clearly for the Treasury
the value of science and engineering research and its present
parlous state of underfunding ... UK university research
is already among the best in the world without the funding it
deserves. The Spending Review 2000 brought great benefits for
the Science Budget. Now has come the time to put right the imbalance
in the dual support system by delivering a significant increase
in funding for higher education research (paragraph 79).
As the Committee notes, the UK punches above its
weight in terms of its research performance. The work of the Crosscutting
Review is being considered as part of the Spending Review.
Options for the future
39. It is generally agreed that the RAE has achieved
all it can in its present form. The question is whether we abandon
it completely or whether it could form part of a broader funding
mechanism for higher education research (paragraph 80).
The RAE does need to be reviewed. The Committee's
report will be useful in that context.
40.We are not persuaded that research assessment
should rely entirely on success in obtaining Research Council
grants (paragraph 82).
Research assessment does not at present rely on success
in obtaining Research Council funding, nor is there any proposal
that it should. Quality related research funding is part of the
plurality of the present research funding arrangements, which
we regard as a strength of the UK system.
41. It is generally agreed that there is a future
for the RAE, but not in its current form. We need an RAE with
a lighter touch (paragraph 83).
The Government agrees that there should be some form
of RAE. A quality mechanism is vital in order to help distribute
what amounts to nearly £1 billion of public funding for research
in England alone. As part of the Review of the RAE, both the Government
and HEFCE will consider whether a lighter touch assessment is
42.We recommend that the RAE should take
place every six years, with interim assessment as requested by
developing departments or as considered necessary by HEFCE (paragraph
43. We believe that the RAE should continue but
only as part of a broader higher education research funding strategy
in which its side effects and disadvantages are offset by other
mechanisms. We suggest the following model for discussion. HEFCE's
research budget could be divided into four sections -
(1) Funding excellence. Toprated
departments would be exempted from the formal research assessment
process if they wish [and funded on their ability to attract external
(2) Promoting new centres of excellence.
Other departments could continue to take part in a research assessment
(3) Developing research capacity.
Departments taking part in the research assessment process could
apply for development money through a bidding process and would
be assessed by subject panels based upon the RAE UoAs.
(4) Fostering external collaborative
research. This fund would support the indirect costs of institutions
attracting external project funding [for departments entering
the formal assessment process] (paragraph 86).
44.This model of research funding could operate
within a broader system of higher education funding which provides
incentives for excellence in all areas of universities' activities:
teaching, community and economic involvement as well as research.
The aim should be to produce a coherent funding system, with a
small number of flexible funds (paragraph 88).
This model will be carefully considered by both the
Government and HEFCE as the RAE and the research funding system
45. No doubt the Funding Councils' review of the
RAE will consider a range of options for the future. We await
its outcome with great interest, since it will have important
implications for the future of science and technology in the UK.
An effective funding mechanism for research infrastructure will
be crucial if we are to maintain and enhance the UK's research
excellence and exploit it successfully. It is essential that DfES,
the Funding Councils, the devolved administrations, OST and the
Research Councils work closely together to ensure that the funding
to the science base is coherent and adequate to maintain the quality
of UK research. We shall follow developments closely and, if necessary,
report again to the House (paragraph 89).
The Government agrees in the importance of good partnership
working to ensure a coherent and effective funding system and
the continued development of high quality research.