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Straight talk: The REF’s not easily bested

Image: A. Bailey [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Having heard about research assessment in other places, Phil Ward, deputy director of research services at the University of Kent and a Funding Insight columnist, says the REF doesn't seem so bad after all.

Recently, we have had a number of visitors from a wide range of different countries, including Denmark, Malaysia and Japan, and it’s always interesting to discover what the similarities and differences are between their experiences and our own. 

For the last two weeks, I’ve hosted some colleagues from South Africa and I was fascinated by their process for assessing research. Here in the UK the Research Excellence Framework is like the key to the kingdom of Middle Earth in Tolkien’s saga, the one ring that rules us all. I won’t revisit the question of its efficacy—I’ve written about that in the past—but suffice to say that not all of us think the game is necessarily worth the candle.

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