The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It will replace the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The REF will be undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies, to:
• inform the selective allocation of research funding to HEIs
• provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks
• provide accountability for public investment in research and demonstrate its benefits.
Through the REF, the UK funding bodies aim to develop and sustain a dynamic and internationally competitive research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.
The REF will be a process of expert review, informed by indicators where appropriate. Expert sub-panels for each of 30 to 40 Units of Assessment (UOAs) will carry out the assessment, working under the guidance of four broad main panels. Institutions will be invited to make submissions to each UOA, to be assessed in terms of:
• The quality of research outputs
This will continue to be the primary factor in the assessment. The quality of research outputs will be assessed by the expert panels against international standards of excellence.
• The wider impact of research
A pilot exercise has been undertaken to develop and test the method for assessing this.
• The vitality of the research environment
The outcomes of the overall assessment will be fine-grained enough to identify excellence wherever this may be found. Panels will produce a sub-profile for each element (outputs, impact and environment), to be combined into an overall excellence profile. The profiles will show the proportion of submitted work at each point on a five-point scale (1* to 4* plus Unclassified).
Further information and updates will be posted by the Research and Graduate Studies Department.
The University of Wales, Newport is celebrating its best ever results in the latest Research Assessment Exercise.
Traditionally known as a teaching institution, the University has grown its research capabilities in recent years, to move up the overall UK table to rank 55th out of 132 universities (from 61st in 2001) and 5th out of 10 in Wales.
All research subject areas submitted by the University achieved international recognition, with 55% of its research classed as of quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour (3*) and 7% classed as world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour (4*).
The five subject areas submitted were:- Art and Design; Mechanical Engineering; Social Work and Social Policy & Administration; Education; History.
The best results came in Art and Design – Newport submitted a joint bid in this area with the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC). Seventy per cent of research assessed was deemed to be world leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour (3* and above), which resulted in a Times Higher Education Supplement ranking of 12th out of 70 universities – and the best in Wales.
This was a unique bid in this subject area and greatly reflects the quality of work that is produced by the two universities, who have worked in close collaboration for many years. Both institutions fared well in the last RAE earning scores of 5 (Newport) and 4 (UWIC), with the latest results cementing their international reputations.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Anne Carlisle said, “Newport has grown as a university by great strides in the last decade and this is reflected in the excellent results of the Research Assessment Exercise. We can hold our heads up very highly and say that not only do our students benefit from great teaching, but that it is informed by research of international importance.
“Staff submitted into this Exercise are to be congratulated on their innovation, endeavour and commitment to excellence, which has resulted in putting the University of Wales, Newport even further up the academic ladder.”
All subject areas submitted can claim to have Research that is recognised internationally - the full results are available to see from the following website:-
RAE website - institution profiles:- http://submissions.rae.ac.uk/results/selectHEI.aspx
For further information please contact the Research Development Manager, Richard.Jeans@Newport.ac.uk
Research Excellence Framework: Consultation
The UK government has asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England to develop a new framework for research assessment and funding that makes greater use of quantitative information – “metrics” – than the current arrangements. The Higher Education Funding Council of Wales (HEFCW) is working with HEFCE and the other UK funding bodies on the development of the new arrangements. Several key elements of the new framework have already been decided, and HEFCW has issued a consultation to Heads of Higher Education Institutions in Wales inviting responses by 14th February 2008. Research and Enterprise Department has been asked to liaise with staff to complete the consultation, and has forwarded copies to Associate Deans (Research and Enterprise) for School action. The consultation can be viewed at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2007/07_34/#exec . RED invites additional comments from staff which will help inform the Institutions response to the consultation; should you have any comments, please forward them to Kelly.Thomas@Newport.ac.uk by 1st February 2008.
RAE 2008 Update
Download the RAE Progress Report.
Whilst the University of Wales, Newport will seek to maximise the number of staff it returns in the forthcoming Research Assessment Exercise 2008, it is certain that not all staff will be submitted. In order that the Institution complies with equal opportunities legsilation, the Research Office has developed and adopted an internal 'RAE 2008 Equality Code of Practice' that covers the preparation of submissions and processes of selecting staff for inclusion in the exercise. The Code of Practice is based on principles of transparency, consistency, fairness and awareness, and seeks to ensure that no member of staff is unfairly treated during deliberations for staff selection in submissions. Included in the Code of Practice are details of an appeal process should members of staff feel thet have been unfairly excluded from submission.
You can download a copy of the RAE 2008 Code of Practice.