Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tories to review HEFCE's plans on impact

Following on from my earlier post, the latest email in the series is entitled REF campaign update - some good news. Apart from the title of this post, also - see below - scientists are being invited to submit feedback on this to the Science and Technology Select Committee.

REF campaign update:

I wanted to write to you to update you with some good news, showing that our lobbying and the publicity we have generated over the ‘impact’ campaign is having an effect. Please see below:

Tories call for REF to be shelved:

David Willetts announced last week that if elected, the Tories would shelve HEFCE’s plans on impact until the completion of a two year review. The shadow minister for higher education, David Willetts, said he would delay proposals that would force 25% of future research to be assessed on 'economic impacts' by two years in order to listen to the concerns of the academic community. The news comes just a week after a UCU poll of top professors revealed that over a third (35%) would consider pursuing their academic career abroad if the plans were introduced. Read more here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=409991&c=2 This is a measure of the pressure we are building up on political parties and HEFCE and a testament to your support, so thank you again.

Calling all scientists! – Science and Technology Committee calls inquiry on funding and ‘impact’

Following UCU lobbying, the Science and Technology Select Committee has announced an inquiry into Science funding and one aspect the committee will be particularly interested in is the proposals for ‘impact’. The Committee is interested in “what evidence there is on the feasibility or effectiveness of estimating the economic impact of research, both from a historical perspective (for QR funding) and looking to the future (for Research Council grants)”. If you are a researcher in the sciences, this is your chance to speak directly to the politicians by making an individual or group submission.

How to send a submission:
  • Focus on the feasibility of an impact measure in your field – can you measure impact over the short term? What would it do to pure science and basic research?
  • Keep your submission to a maximum of 3000 words and put it in Word format (no later than 2003) and number your paragraphs
  • The deadline for submissions is 27 January so time is short.
  • Don’t leave it to others! With the disappearance of a committee that specifically represents universities it’s harder than ever for the academic voice to be heard. Volume of responses will be important. If you have something to say, now’s the time to say it!

Please send your submissions by e-mail to scitechcom@parliament.uk and marked "Research funding cuts" and please send a copy to us too at jwhite@ucu.org.uk. An additional paper copy should be sent to: The Clerk, Science and Technology Committee House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.

You can read full details of the Inquiry’s remit here: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology.cfm

Best wishes


Jonathan White

Deputy Head of Campaigns


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