Information Requirements: notes and definitions
3.1. These notes and definitions are designed to give detailed guidance on the information that will be required in submissions for assessment in the 2001 RAE.
3.2. Throughout these notes:
"Department" means the organisational arrangement within which the research described in a submission takes place, whether a conventional department or some other structure.
"Unit of assessment" (UoA) means an academic subject area or grouping as defined in Section 5.
"Submission" means a complete set of returns (RA1 to RA6) describing the research submitted by a department for assessment.
"Full-time equivalent" (FTE) refers, as appropriate:
FTE should normally be expressed to two decimal places (e.g. 0.67).
"The assessment period" means the period from 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2000 for arts and humanities subjects (UoAs 45 to 67 inclusive); and 1 January 1996 to 31 December 2000 for other subjects (UoAs 1 to 44, 68 and 69).
"The census date" means the date for assigning research active individuals to the HEIs where they are in post (or with which they are associated in the case of Category C individuals). This is 31 March 2001.
3.3. The following sections contain details on the information that will be required in submissions. The numbers of the relevant RAE forms are given with the heading for each section for ease of reference. The software and forms for making submissions, with instructions on their use, will be issued separately in early summer 2000 with the formal invitation to make submissions for assessment.
Staff Details (RA0 and RA1)
3.4. Submitting HEIs will be required to give information on:
Details will be required on individuals selected as research active as indicated below. Only the number (FTE) of the other categories listed above will be required.
3.5. HEIs are invited to put forward within their submissions those individuals in or associated with a department who are actively engaged in research. Both full-time and part-time staff may be included. It is for institutions to decide which individuals they choose to submit. In making this decision they should be aware that research funding is at present influenced by the volume of research activity (including staff) assessed in the RAE.
3.6. The number of academic staff not selected as research active will include staff in all UoAs in which an HEI is academically active (teaching, research or both). These should be assigned to the most appropriate UoA, whether or not the HEI is making a submission to that UoA. In UoAs where no submission is made it is recognised that the attribution of staff to UoAs will not be exact in all cases; institutions will be asked to submit figures that indicate their best estimate of the subject focus of their non-research active staff. This information is required to assist panels in understanding the context within which research activity takes place.
3.7. Where an institution has academic staff employed on the census date, on terms making them eligible for inclusion as research active, but whom it would find it impossible to assign to a UoA because they have no academic duties (teaching or research) at that time, these may be returned under UoA 99. This will normally apply to staff who are employed on an academic contract but are engaged in purely managerial or administrative duties (for example, some vice-chancellors). It is not possible to return research active staff to UoA 99.
Research Active Individuals
3.8. Research active individuals should be returned in one of the following five categories:
3.9. Panels will set out the arrangements for institutions to describe their research groups and other structures. These will be reflected in the order in which individuals will be listed on RAE forms. The funding bodies will issue further guidance alongside the panelsí statements of criteria and working methods.
3.10. Academic staff eligible to be included in Categories A, A* or B are those individuals in an HEI who are (or have been) employed under a contract of salaried employment with the HEI and whose primary employment function is (or was) teaching, research or both. They may include NHS "A+B" staff, research fellows and, exceptionally, certain research assistants (see paragraph 3.26 below), and pensioned staff who continue in salaried employment contracted to carry out academic duties. Academic staff do not include casual/hourly paid staff, or individuals employed under consultancy contracts or on the basis of payment of fees for services, without a contract of employment.
3.11. NHS "A+B" staff should be returned as Category A (or A*), with a FTE less than 1.0, reflecting their contract of employment with the institution. The remainder of their research activity can be flagged as Category C (as a supplementary item of information) indicating their contribution to the research activity beyond the FTE value of their contract with the institution. The percentage of the individualís salary should refer only to the extent of their contract with the HEI.
3.12. The following data will be required in respect of individuals returned as research active. For Category A* staff the relevant date will be the last day of employment rather than the census date.
3.13. When reporting on the source of the salary of research active staff (item 3.12h above), HEIs will be required to indicate the percentage of salary met from each of the following sources:
In every case, the percentage declared should total 100. In the case of part-time staff or those contracted to the HEI for less than their full employment the 100% will refer to the full extent of their HEI contract.
3.14. Staff on sabbatical, study or maternity leave may be included as research active staff if they are still on the institutionís payroll. Academic staff on unpaid leave of absence or secondment on the census date may be listed as Category A if they are contracted to return to their normal duties within two years from the start of their period of absence, as long as any staff recruited specifically to cover their duties are not listed as Category A or A* as well. Staff absent from their "home" institution on these terms, but working as contracted academic staff at another UK HE on the census date, may be returned by either or both institutions. However, such staff must not be returned as a total FTE within the RAE in excess of that implied by their contract with their main employer. In such a case the individual and the institutions should agree how the return is to be made.
3.15. Staff who die while in post before 31 March 2001 may not be returned as Category A or A* staff although they are eligible for inclusion in Category B.
3.16. Individuals who may be included in the return under Categories C and D are those who make (or have made within the assessment period) a contribution to the research of the department, but who are excluded from Categories A and B because they do not have (or have not had) a contract with the institution, do not receive (or have not received) a salary from it, or are not academic staff. This may include staff not attached to a department but making a significant contribution to the research of the institution as a whole. The department (or the institution more widely) must be the focus of the research activities of such staff. Those carrying out their research wholly or mainly outside the institution, and having a less direct or significant research relationship with it, are not eligible.
3.17. Categories C and D may include, among others, the following wherever they meet the criteria in the previous paragraph:
3.18. Visiting professors, fellows and lecturers should be excluded from submissions if they normally carry out their research outside the department (e.g. in an industrial research laboratory or research council institute). However, if such individuals carry out the majority of their research work in the department, then they may be included in Categories C or D as appropriate. Where staff on unpaid leave are returned as Category A under the terms of paragraph 3.14 above, any staff recruited specifically to cover their duties who are research active may be returned as Category C only. Short-term (one year or less) visiting staff should not be considered as research active staff. They can, however, be referred to in the textual part of submissions.
3.19. Teaching assistants (such as foreign language assistants/lectors) who are not employed as academic staff cannot be included as research active members of staff and may not be returned within the overall staff summary. An institution which decides that some of its teaching assistants or lectors are by the terms of their contracts eligible to be considered as academic staff for the purposes of RAE must also return any staff employed on the same terms, and not selected as research active, as "Category A staff not selected."
3.20. Research fellows are defined for the RAE as individuals who hold specific awards on the basis of their own research record or research proposals. They include Arts and Humanities Research Board or Research Council Fellows (senior, advanced or postdoctoral) and Royal Society Research Fellows and Professors. Panels will wish to identify clearly the cases where such awards indicate a significant measure of peer esteem beyond the department. Research fellowships should therefore be recorded as such only where there is a significant measure of external funding for the post and the title was awarded to a named individual in recognition of independent research achieved or proposed and following a process of expert peer review (including competitive review), involving an input from outside the institution.
3.21. Research fellows who receive funding directly from their sponsoring bodies, as is the case for NATO and UN fellowships, may not be returned as Category A or B staff, unless so sponsored while on unpaid leave under arrangements covered by paragraph 3.14 above. However they are eligible for inclusion in Category C or D.
3.22. All research assistants, technicians, scientific and experimental officers and other research support staff returned should be associated with at least one individual returned as research active on the census date (Category A, A* or C).
3.23. The terms technician, scientific officer and experimental officer are generic terms and will need to be related to local practice. Where an individual within these groups has a split role between teaching and research, only the FTE devoted to research should be recorded. Where this is a minor part of their job description (less than 0.2 FTE) they should be omitted entirely.
3.24. Research support staff may include, for example, computing staff and others who are devoted wholly or largely to the support of research. They may not include departmental secretarial or administrative staff except where they are specifically employed wholly or largely for the support of research.
3.25. Research assistants are employed by the institution to carry out another individualís research programme rather than as independent researchers in their own right (except in the circumstances describe in paragraph 3.26 below). Their primary employment function is research. They are often employed on short-term contracts funded by research grants or contracts from research councils, charities or industry.
Casual or hourly paid staff should not be included.
3.26. Research assistants should not in general be listed as research active academic staff. Exceptionally, however, they may be returned in Category A, A* or B, on the basis that there are solid grounds for describing them as the lead or principal investigators on a significant piece of research work. This might apply, for example, where they are named as principal investigator on a research grant or contract, or where they function in that capacity but are not so listed solely because the sponsor requires the named principal investigator to be a permanent member of staff. They should not be listed as Category A or B research staff purely on the basis that they have one or more publications to their name. Research assistants listed as Category A research staff may not also be included in the count of research assistants supervised by other research active staff.
3.27. Postgraduate research assistants should be distinguished from postdoctoral research assistants. Research assistants graded 1A and above on the former University Authorities Panel (UAP) pay scales, or graded B and above in the former Polytechnics and Colleges Employers Forum (PCEF) pay scales, should be returned as postdoctoral research assistants. Research assistants graded 1B on the former UAP pay scales, or graded A on the former PCEF pay scales, should be returned to this survey as postgraduate research assistants. Institutions which have adopted locally determined pay scales should map these onto the UAP or PCEF pay scales, as appropriate, to distinguish postdoctoral from postgraduate research assistants. The former normally have a higher degree. Postgraduate research assistants normally do not have a research-based degree and are more junior.
3.28. Where a postgraduate research assistant has to register for a higher degree as a condition of their employment they should be returned as a research student and not as a research assistant. Where a postgraduate research assistant chooses to register for a higher degree they should be returned as a part-time research assistant and also as a part-time research student (for 50% of their contracted FTE in each case).
Research Outputs (RA2)
3.29. Institutions are invited to supply details of up to four pieces of research output produced by each Category A or C staff member, and up to two pieces of research output produced by each Category A* staff member, during the assessment period. These may be any form of publicly available assessable output, including work that is directly relevant to industrial, business, governmental and other users of research. The items selected should be the outcomes of research which best reflect the quality of work of the member of staff. Work which is forthcoming may not be submitted, even if it has been accepted for publication. Reference may be made to research outputs other than those cited in detail in the textual parts of submissions.
3.30. In general all work which is eligible for submission must be publicly available. The sole exception to this is where completed work is not in the public domain because it is confidential. This may include, for example, reports produced for companies which are commercially sensitive or for government bodies which have not been published. In the case of such work the submitting institution must have the prior permission of the person or organisation to whom the work is confidential, that the output may be made available for assessment.
3.31. Institutions may cite any output produced by selected staff during the assessment period regardless of where those staff were employed during the period.
3.32. The following information will be required for each item of output listed.
3.33. PhD theses, and other theses, dissertations or other outputs submitted for a research degree may not be listed. Other assessable works based on research carried out for a research degree may be listed. In the textual part of their submissions institutions may if they wish draw attention to research degrees or similar awards conferred upon their staff during the assessment period.
3.34. Edited works (including both editions of texts and the bringing to press of work by others) and translations may be included wherever these embody research as defined for the RAE. Systematic reviews may also be included where they meet this condition. Editorships of journals and other activities associated with the dissemination of research findings will not generally be regarded as research leading to assessable output but may be mentioned where appropriate in the textual part of submissions.
3.35. Category A, A* and C individuals will be able to include within their own cited output works (which are otherwise eligible) produced by research assistants and research students whose work they supervised at the time and who are or were associated with the department. This applies whether or not the staff are credited as co-authors of the works. It specifically excludes theses, dissertations and other outputs submitted for a research degree which are ineligible for submission in all cases (see paragraph 3.33). Institutions must ensure that appropriate credit for authorship of the work is recorded: the work should be listed against the supervisorís name with the name of the person producing the work entered as first co-author with the observation "(Supervised author)". Staff will remain restricted to citing up to four items of output (two items in the case of Category A* staff) irrespective of whether these include works produced by research assistants and research students alongside their own works.
3.36. Co-authored or co-produced outputs should not be counted pro-rata, but the names of other authors/producers concerned will need to be recorded. If there are more than four co-authors or co-producers the names of three (in addition to the member of staff listing the publication) and a record of the number of others will be required. Any co-authors or co-producers who have not been members of staff, or research assistants or research students, at the institution during the assessment period should be noted as such. Where two or more co-authors or co-producers of an output are returned as research active (in either the same or different departments and UoAs) any or all of these may list the same output.
3.37. For each output cited enough information should be given to enable the panel to determine precisely what is being listed, whether it is a product of sole or multiple authorship or production, and where it may be found. The following details will be required for each output cited:
3.38. Additional brief relevant factual information may also be given. This facility is intended primarily to make it possible to identify relevant factual circumstances associated with an output. It is not expected to be supplied in every case. It may be used for example to identify a keynote address to a conference; an invited conference paper especially where the perceived status of the conference is high; in the case of a non-text output, to give further information as to the present whereabouts of a work or to note that a photographic, electronic or other record exists. It may not be used to describe the research content or significance of the work nor to volunteer opinions as to its relative quality.
Research Students and Studentships (RA3a and RA3b)
3.39. The following information on research students in the department will be required:
The arrangements for recording research assistants who are registered for a higher degree described in paragraph 3.28 should be noted.
Student head counts and FTEs may only be recorded if the student registers for the year of programme of study.
In some cases a student may not study for a full year in their final year of programme of study (e.g. year of programme two of a 15 month MSc programme). In such cases the student should be recorded as part time in their final year of programme of study with an FTE reflecting the proportion of a full year for which they have studied. This should be recorded even if the student is not active on 1 December in the final year of programme of study.
3.40. Research students should be returned by the institution where they are registered, except in the case of submissions from institutions in Wales and Scotland in which research students should be included under the institution where they are carrying out their studies. (This difference reflects differences between the countries in the way in which students are currently counted for funding purposes). Registered students are those who have a binding undertaking to pay a fee to the institution for tuition and supervision of research (whether or not they pay the fee themselves).
3.41. A research-based higher degree is one awarded primarily on the basis of a substantial thesis (or equivalent) submitted by the student and resulting from the studentís original research. Regulations on the appointment of examiners for the degree should stipulate that the studentís work is examined by at least two examiners, individually appointed for the student, one of whom is normally an external examiner.
3.42. Where a department contains students on degrees not covered by the definition above but whose presence is considered significant attention may be drawn to these in the textual part of the submission. Category A and A* staff who are registered for a research degree may be included, and would normally be classified as part-time students.
3.43. In some cases students may be registered to study for a research degree at an institution which does not have, or until recently did not have, the power to award its own higher degrees at the appropriate level. Another institution may validate the course and award the degrees of such students. In these cases the students should be counted by the institution where they are registered. It follows that the validating institution should not count these students.
3.44. Students who have completed the work of their programme of study but have yet to complete the requirements for the award (writing up a thesis, for example) should be excluded. Equally students paying a "continuation fee", on the basis that they have completed the normal period of preparation for a research degree and are still writing up a thesis or equivalent output, are excluded from the count (and, if their fees are being paid by an external sponsor, are also excluded from the count of studentships).
3.45. A student whose registration is suspended at any of the relevant dates should not be included.
3.46. Students registered for research qualifications awarded primarily on the basis of published works should be excluded.
3.47. Students employed by outside research organisations and based outside the department for the majority of their study should normally be excluded. However, students engaged on forms of work-based learning such as Postgraduate Training Partnerships and the Engineering Doctorate may be included. Teaching Company employees registered for a research degree may be included where they are based within the department for the majority of their study.
3.48. Research students should normally be returned to the UoA in which their supervisor is returned. Where a student is supervised by more than one member of staff and these supervisors are returned in more than one UoA, the student may be returned split either according to the agreed division of responsibility or in proportion to the number of supervisors.
3.49. Where students have undertaken work in preparation for a research degree within more than one department, their degree awarded should be returned in one UoA only - generally that to which their principal supervisor is returned.
3.50. Details will be required of the number of new studentships for fees at or above the DfEE recommended amount held in the department in each of calendar years 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 against various sources of studentship. Studentships for partial fees below the amount, for maintenance only, or for bench fees only, may not be included. The number of such studentships held by postgraduate students registered for research degrees should be recorded. Each new studentship should be counted once only and placed against the calendar year in which it first started. An extension to the duration of a studentship should not be regarded as new for the purpose of this return.
3.51. Research studentships should be returned under the following headings:
Research Income (RA4)
3.52. The external research income received between 1 January 1996 and 31 December 2000 will be required. This should be returned by financial years and, accordingly, will include two part year returns (1 January to 31 July 1996 and 1 August to 31 December 2000).
3.53. The actual research income from external grants or contracts received in each financial year is sought rather than the initial value of the grants or contracts. For this purpose the HESA definition of research income will apply: that is, all income in respect of externally sponsored research carried out by the institution (or its subsidiary organisation) and for which directly related expenditure has been incurred (including recovery of indirect costs).
3.54. External research income data should be collected against the heads listed below. Integrated Graduate Development Scheme (IGDS) and European Social Fund (ESF) grants are excluded from this return. Income in respect of studentships and Research Training Support Grants is also excluded. Income from the Teaching Company Scheme may be included.
3.55. All grant and contract income in respect of research and meeting the other criteria set out in this circular may in principle be included. All income in respect of studentships or tuition fees is excluded.
3.56. Grants awarded under funding council special initiatives may not be included in the return.
3.57. Research grant or contract income in respect of building projects may be entered. Such income, whatever its source, should be returned under "other" identifying the source and adding "(building)". General building grants or donations are not eligible and any part of a building grant that relates to teaching or other non-research use may not be included.
3.58. Where an institution has income from endowments made for research purposes, and has incurred directly related expenditure on research with which at least one member of staff submitted as research active is associated, this may be returned under "other", identified as endowments.
3.59. Gifts of any kind for research purposes for which the institution did not incur qualifying direct expenditure, including all gifts of equipment, may be identified in the textual parts of submissions but may not be returned as research income.
3.60. Grants or contracts for which income is included in a submission should be associated with at least one member of staff who is returned as research active. Subject to this, all income in respect of research carried out at the institution and for which directly related expenditure has been incurred should be returned. Income should be stated at full value including any recovery for indirect costs whether retained by the institution or department, or at the disposal of an individual within a department. Amounts in respect of costs for existing staff or facilities within research grants or contracts may be included.
3.61. Income which has been administered through the institutionís own accounts should be included. So should income administered through the accounts of a subsidiary company wherever that income was consolidated in the institutionís finance return made in the relevant year to the HE funding body from which it received grant at the time. Income not handled in either of these ways, including income received directly by individuals working in the department, may not be returned but may be referred to in the textual part of the submission. Similarly, gifts of equipment, and funding for building work not paid as part of the grant or contract for a specified research project, may also be cited in the textual part of a submission.
3.62. Where a grant or contract is held, or the work conducted, across more than one UoA it should be divided between UoAs reflecting the manner in which the income has been used. Research projects which are funded from a number of sources should have their income allocated between respective headings to reflect the actual source of the income.
3.63. Where a project is being undertaken by a number of institutions and one institution acts as the Ďlead institutioní, only income received by the institution making the return, and relating to the work actually being undertaken by it, should be included. The lead institution should therefore not include any portion of income in a particular year passed on to co-operating institutions.
3.64. Researchers will on occasion move between institutions during the progress of a grant or contract. If the original institution continues to receive income from the grant/contract then this should be accounted to that institution alone. If the old grant/contract is cancelled and a new one is issued to the new institution, then the income from each should be cited by the appropriate institution.
3.65. If an individual moves institution but continues to work on a grant/contract held jointly with other members of staff at the original institution, the income may be cited only by the institution which received it. The ruling on grants/contracts held by researchers at more than one institution applies only to awards that are specifically allocated at the start to individuals at more than one institution, not in the case of individuals who move institution after the award is announced.
3.66. Where Scottish HEIs hold small biomedical and clinical research grants and contracts income from the Chief Scientist at the Scottish Office Department of Health they may be included under OST Research Councils et al, as such awards are made in competition against a pool of research funds. Where the Scottish Office awards a grant or contract for a specific study as part of its role as a government department, the grant/contract should be returned under UK central government.
3.67. Department of Health clinical awards administered by the Clinical Research Awards Advisory Committee may similarly be included under OST Research Councils et al.
3.68. The value of Research Council central facilities used by researchers in the department may be returned. Institutions should return this value separately. The funding bodies will consult with the Research Councils on arrangements for recording and verifying the value of central facilities used and will issue further guidance in due course.
3.69. Where, exceptionally, VAT is payable on all or part of a research grant or contract at the point where the money is paid to the HEI, this should not be included as part of the institutionís research income in respect of the project.
Textual Commentary (RA5 and RA6)
3.70. Institutions will be invited to supply written details of their current arrangements for promoting and supporting research, their research plans for the future and any other evidence or specific circumstances they wish panels to take into account in assessing their research activity.
3.71. Panels, in their statements of criteria, will specify a structure and minimum content for the textual parts of submissions. Institutions should follow this guidance, which will facilitate a degree of self-assessment (not including suggested ratings).
3.72. Research plans and strategies will form part of the required textual information. Institutions and departments which submitted research plans on Form RA5 in the 1996 RAE may wish to note that these will be available to the 2001 assessment panels and may wish to explain any significant divergence which has occurred.
3.73. The textual parts of submissions will be subject to a length limit. This will be specified in the context of the criteria statements drawn up by panels. The textual parts of submissions will use standard typescript and figures only. It is envisaged that they will consist of prose and simple tables; graphs, diagrams and pictures will not be permitted.
3.74. In general staff should only be returned by one institution. However, in two specific situations a member of staff may be returned by two institutions.
3.75. No individual member of staff may be returned as active on 31 March 2001 in more than one UoA, with the sole exception of staff returned as research active (Category A, A* or C) by two institutions as described above. In exceptional circumstances, staff whose research has undergone a significant shift in subject focus within the assessment period may be returned as Category A or A* in one UoA (at 31 March 2001) with a start date later than 1 January 1996 and as Category B, up to that date, in another UoA at either the same or a different institution.
3.76. Staff employed directly by the Federal University of Wales may be returned in the universityís submissions as Category A, A* or B or in those of its constituent institutions as Category C or D. However, the same member of staff may not be returned as Category A or A* by both the Federal University and any of its constituent institutions.
Last updated 15 September 2000