31 Mar 2016
Research assessment (previously through the Research Assessment Exercise and now the Research Excellence Framework) has identified that excellent research is taking place in every university in the UK. It has supported the development of emerging areas of research and ensured that all universities can offer a learning environment influenced by high quality research and teaching. This has had a significant positive on the reputation of the sector.
Since 2008, however, research funding policy has served to concentrate funding into a smaller number of institutions. This has the potential to reduce capacity of the overall research base, and make it harder for businesses (especially SMEs) to access high quality research and knowledge exchange in their region.
Any reforms to the REF should not detract from the principles of identifying excellent research across the sector. The government should maintain its commitment to funding excellent research wherever it is found. We do not support any further concentration of research funding and believe that the government should do more to invest in translational research to support universities in working with businesses to grow and add value to regions around the country.