Tapper, Ted and Salter, Brian
Governance of higher education in Britain: the significance of the research assessment exercises for the funding council model
Higher Education Quarterly, 58, (1), . (doi:10.1111/j.1468-2273.2004.00257.x).
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This article uses the political struggles that have enveloped the research assessment exercises (RAEs) to interpret the UK’s current funding council model of governance. Ironically, the apparently widespread improvement in the research performance of British universities, as demonstrated by RAE 2001, has made it more difficult to distribute research income selectively, which was supposedly the central objective of the whole evaluative process.Whilst enhanced research ratings may be seen as a cause for celebration in the universities, the failure to anticipate this outcome and, more significantly, to plan for its financial implications is seen in political circles as a failure of higher education management. The article explores the alternative models of governance that are likely to emerge as a consequence of this crisis and, in particular, whether the funding councils can have much freedom of action, given the tighter political control of policy goals and their critical dependence upon the academic profession for the conduct of the evaluative process.
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