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Unistats: UK university comparison site

"Unistats lets you search, review and compare official information about universities and colleges in the UK, and the subjects they offer. It includes results from the National Student Survey–where more than 220,000 students give their views about the quality of their higher education experience. ...

HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England)¹ owns the Unistats websites and has contracted UCAS to manage the delivery and maintenance of these websites on its behalf."

(Unistats, UK)



accountability • admissions service • best practicecollegescomparison siteconservatoire • Conservatoires UK Admissions Service • DEL • Department for Employment and Learningeducationeducation sectorgood practiceGraduate Teacher Training RegistryHEFCEHEFCW • high quality • higher educationHigher Education Funding Council for EnglandHigher Education Funding Council for Walesinformationknowledge territorialisationlegitimate scholarly practices • localised learning requirements • metricsNational Student Survey • Northern Ireland and the Scottish Funding Council • NSS • postgraduate certificate • practice-basedpublic money • quality of experience • research metrics • reviews • SFC • student viewsstudentsUCASUKUK Postgraduate Application and Statistical ServiceUKPASSundergraduate • Unistats • universitiesuniversity admissionswebsite


Simon Perkins
12 APRIL 2011

UK Research Excellence Framework: a brief guide to the proposals

"The four UK higher education funding bodies issued a second consultation on proposals for the Research Excellence Framework (REF), including proposals to assess the impact of research on the economy and society, and for citation information to be used by some panels to inform their review of research outputs."

(HEFCE, 2009, UK)

1). The Research Excellence Framework: A brief guide to the proposals' (Adobe PDF 124K).


2009citationconsultationHEHEFCE • higher education funding bodies • impact of researchimpact on societyimpact on the economyREFresearchResearch Excellence Frameworkresearch outputsUK


Simon Perkins
20 MAY 2010

Research: a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared...

"The proposals for a new approach to the assessment and funding of research – set out last year in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's consultation paper on the research excellence framework – have sparked more than a few rows.

Much of the conflict has revolved around whether or not the economic and social impact of research should feature in the regime that will replace the research assessment exercise. ...

Our starting point should be to remember that the RAE was deeply flawed. It was dominated by vested interests, was embarrassingly subjective and seriously undervalued those scholars who bridge the worlds of academe and practice.

The REF is, then, a major step forward from the RAE not least because it broadens the definition of research. To suggest, as the REF does, that research is 'a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared' invites all scholars to think afresh about how they communicate their research findings and to whom. ...

Yes, there are challenges in research impact assessment. New thinking, around, say, research 'possibilities' is needed. But once academics recognise that research findings should be 'shared', we have made a significant step forward. By definition we are now discussing research impact or, at least, potential research impact.

However, the intellectual argument relating to research impact, rather like the debate about the expansion of university public engagement activities, goes much deeper than a discussion of how scholars can improve the manner in which they communicate with different audiences – important as this is.

Rather it concerns a reshaping, for some disciplines at least, of the way scholarship is conceived. It heralds a move towards the notion of 'engaged scholarship'. Many UK academics – medics are a classic example – are already actively engaged with stakeholders outside the campus in the process of defining research questions and co–producing new knowledge.

This is not to suggest that all scholars should be 'engaged scholars' – indeed, that would be a bad thing. But the research impact debate can open up the possibility of broadening the definition of scholarship."

(Robin Hambleton, 4 February 2010, Times Higher Education)


2010 • a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared • assessing impact • definition • discoveryengaged scholarsengagementenquiryfindingsHEHEFCEHigher Education Funding Council for Englandimpactmeasurement of impactmetricspublishingRAEREFresearchResearch Excellence Frameworkresearch fundingresearch outputscholarshipsharingUK


Simon Perkins
18 NOVEMBER 2009

HEFCE : Research : Research Excellence Framework (REF)

"The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). In previous years, research quality has been assessed periodically through the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

We are currently consulting on proposals for the new framework. We will issue guidance on the REF in 2010 after completing the consultation. The first REF exercise is due to be completed in 2013.

We are working in collaboration with the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland), and with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the new framework. Representatives of the four funding councils sit on a steering group which oversees its development.

The REF will focus on three elements, which together reflect the key characteristics of research excellence. These are:

* Outputs: The primary focus of the REF will be to identify excellent research of all kinds. This will be assessed through a process of expert review, informed by citation information in subjects where robust data are available (for example, in medicine and science).

* Impact: Significant additional recognition will be given where researchers build on excellent research to deliver demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Impacts will be assessed through a case–study approach that will be tested in a pilot exercise.

* Environment: The REF will take account of the quality of the research environment in supporting a continuing flow of excellent research and its effective dissemination and application."

(Higher Education Funding Council for England)


Simon Perkins
20 AUGUST 2009

JISC Virtual Research Environment programme

"The purpose of a Virtual Research Environment (VRE) is to help researchers from all disciplines to work collaboratively by managing the increasingly complex range of tasks involved in carrying out research on both small and large scales. The concept of a VRE is evolving. The term VRE is now best thought of as shorthand for the tools and technologies needed by researchers to do their research, interact with other researchers (who may come from different disciplines, institutions or even countries) and to make use of resources and technical infrastructures available both locally and nationally. The term VRE also incorporates the context in which those tools and technologies are used. The detailed design of a VRE will depend on many factors including discipline, context, and security requirements. The intention of this programme is therefore not to produce a complete VRE, but rather to define and help to develop VRE frameworks and associated standards, and to encourage the development and population of these frameworks with applications, services and resources to create VREs appropriate to particular needs."
(HEFCE, on behalf of JISC, UK, 19/04/10)

[VRE phase three (2009–2011) 10 VRE projects focusing on Tools, Frameworks and Interoperability, additionally 4 new reports have been commissioned. ]


adaptable • digital technologydiscoverydistributione-Research • e-Science • enquiryeresearcheresearchescienceescienceflexibilityHEFCEICTintegrateinterdisciplinary • JCSR • JISCresearchresourcetechnologyUKVirtual Research EnvironmentVRE


Simon Perkins

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