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Pre-emptive strikes

Rows erupt over research funding ahead of publication of the results of the REF, writes Alison Goddard.

Vice-chancellors “need to be prepared to make a robust case in support of quality-related funding” in the run up to a spending review that will take place after the general election in May 2015, Universities UK has said. The government is questioning whether the results of the Research Excellence Framework, due to be published on 18 December, should continue to inform the allocation of £1.6 billion of research funding, which has been distributed according to its results for the past three decades.

Today the University Alliance, which represents 20 business-led institutions, will convene a roundtable of experts from universities, industry and central government including Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to explore what it bills as "the new context for research excellence". It is also due to publish for consultation a paper on selectivity, collaboration and responsiveness in research. Meanwhile Million+, which represents 16 teaching-led institutions, continues its campaign for its members to get an increased share of research funding. 

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