UKRI consultation on Future Research Assessment

The Chartered ABS has responded to the consultation from UKRI on the future of research assessment following the last REF exercise. We were pleased to work closely with BAM on our response to ensure we could amplify messages where appropriate, reinforcing issues that matter most to business and management academics.

Within our response we acknowledged the importance of a national research assessment system and its intended purposes but suggested that a future assessment exercise should do more to promote EDI across the sector, helping to create a fair playing field for all types of staff, including Early Career Researchers. We also indicated a desire to identify and recognise research that has a local or regional focus, and institutions’ contributions towards the UN SDGs.

We are keen to see the administrative burden reduced in any future exercise, as many research staff are engaged in teaching in addition to research, and time spent reporting on research is time spent not doing research. Administration could be reduced by making more use of existing data sources and/or data reported for other purposes. A new research assessment system should encourage collaboration within the internal research environment and between HEIs and non-HEI organisations. With this in mind, we ask UKRI to consider making impact cases both portable and submissible collaboratively by more than one institution and/or Unit of Assessment.

On balance, we are not in favour of research assessment exercises being carried out on a rolling basis as this would become an on-going distraction from doing actual research. We would like to see earlier confirmation of the date, assessment criteria, and guidelines for a future assessment exercise. We also do not advocate a metric-only or metric heavy assessment process and believe that a future exercise must find an appropriate balance between quantitative indicators and peer review.

The Chartered ABS and our members would welcome further dialogue with the UKRI on its plans for future research assessment exercises.

Our response to the consultation can be read in full here.