The 1996 Research Assessment Exercise.

Derek Law


The 1996 Research Assessrnent Exercise has come and gone and now that the funding mechanism has been announced university departments can begin to assess the consequences of their ratings. This also seems an appropriate time to consider what was being assessed and why.
The 1992 exercise caused some panellists some heartache, for it specifically measured a "snapshot" at a particular moment in time. The panels were forbidden to assess whether departments were on the way up or the way down or even stagnating. In 1996 however, we were enjoined to assess the research culture of the department/unit (in part this was aimed at countering the development of the
so-called transfer market), its future prospects and also its ability to deliver ambitions and promises. Tellingly for some institutions ,the 1992 forward plans were considered as part of the 1996 review and the discrepancies between what was promised and what had been delivered were considered.
Although explained changes of plan or circumstances were taken into account.


Research Assessment Exercise; RAE; consequences; ratings; snapshot; transfer market; future prospects;

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