UK: Universities brace for heavier research burden

Since the introduction of the research assessment exercise, an evaluation carried out on behalf of the four UK funding councils every five years, academics have had to do a lot more form-filling to secure funding for future research. Its replacement, the research excellence framework, due to be rolled out in 2013, could make that burden even heavier, putting them under pressure to source hard-to-find data, writes Anthea Lipsett for The Guardian.

Most controversial is the proposal to judge the quality of research based on its impact outside of academic circles. Under new rules announced on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), university departments will have to provide case studies proving the impact of their work beyond their institution. This might include public outreach or details of how a particular piece of work is helping the wider community, for example through medical science.

In the new framework, different weight is given to the three main elements on which research quality is assessed - output (65%), environment (15%) and, now, impact (20%.) The weight for 'impact' was originally set to be 25%, but this was reduced after concerns voiced by the academic community.
Full report on the Guardian site

The title of this article is wrong. The Guardian should have headed it: "Universities brace for heavier bureaucratic burden, further eroding research time."

Adrian Gibbs