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 RA Review home > Meetings > RA Review update March 2003

Update on the UK funding bodies' review of research assessment

17 March 2003

Sir Gareth Roberts, Chair of the Research Assessment Review, will deliver a draft report to the leaders of the four UK funding bodies on 28 March.

Subject to their views, it will be considered by the board meetings of the funding bodies in April and early May.

In the course of his review, Sir Gareth has:

  • reviewed 420 written submissions
  • discussed his emerging conclusions at six public meetings across the UK
  • held over 40 meetings with stakeholder groups.

He has also received reports on:

  • the strengths and weaknesses of RAE2001
  • international approaches to research assessment
  • the outputs of a series of nine workshops run with practising researchers by RAND Europe.

His report will draw upon all these strands.

The strongest message to emerge from Sir Gareth's work is the indispensability of expert peer review to the assessment of research. There has been a general acceptance that the burden this imposes upon the research community is both necessary and unavoidable. As RAND Europe have concluded:

"Although most staff are keen to avoid an assessment exercise that is onerous, they appreciate that any system capable of providing the necessary fairness would be relatively labour intensive."

The report will nevertheless recommend a number of major reforms to the Research Assessment Exercise, which, taken together, represent a radical overhaul of the system.

These reforms will be presented as discrete recommendations. In some cases, reforms will be viable only if other reforms are approved. Sir Gareth will be careful to point out where this is the case.

The funding bodies hope to launch a consultation on Sir Gareth's recommendations in late May.

No further public comment will be made on the RA Review until the funding bodies have received and discussed Sir Gareth's report.

The RA Review steering groupís membership and terms of reference of the review are available.



Last updated 19 August 2004
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