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Universities: Research Funding

Volume 700: debated on Wednesday 23 April 2008

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (John Denham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I have decided on the next steps for the implementation and development of the research excellence framework. We will move towards a single unified funding and assessment framework for all subject areas as originally planned, but within this, the balance of metric indicators, including bibliometrics, and light-touch expert review will vary according to the subject. In order to allow sufficient time to develop this more flexible approach, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will now build an additional 12 months into the timetable for designing the new framework.

The extra time allowed for testing and piloting will give maximum assurance that the new arrangements are workable, without compromising our overall objective of having them fully operational in time for the beginning of academic year 2014-15.

HEFCE has reported to me the outcome of the recent UK-wide consultation exercise on the assessment and funding of higher education research post 2008. The consultation responses indicated broad support for the proposals but highlighted some concerns about the timetable for developing and piloting the proposals as well as about the demarcation between the sciences and all other subjects.