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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

Research Structure and Environment

(a) University Research Policy.
After the 1996 RAE, the University's Research and Postgraduate Programmes Committee, chaired by the Head of the Department of Economics, adopted a policy of allocating the HEFCE research funds to units of assessment that earned them.

(b) Mechanisms for promoting research.
The Department of Economics has cultivated a strong research culture through appropriate staff recruitment, development and sustained support, reinforced by large postgraduate research and teaching programmes (3 of the MSc courses have ESRC recognition). Departmental procedures for encouraging research include both the formal probationary and appraisal systems, which monitor research output closely, and the provision of a substantial amount of informal support to junior staff, through mentoring and joint work. Increasing focus on teams of researchers has consolidated a trend of collaborative research within the Department. A high proportion of the papers in RA2 involves co-authors both within and outside the Department. Strong encouragement and support for conference presentations have resulted in a large national and international conference participation (see RA6a). The Department has a regular seminar series and two Discussion Paper series for disseminating new research.
The Department has used RAE money to support research by employing research assistants and, more recently, by hiring lecturers to strengthen the research base and reduce the average teaching burden for active researchers.

(c ) Research Groupings
There is one main research group: Centre for International Capital Markets (CICM)
This University research centre, established in 1996, embraces financial economics, international finance, banking and monetary economics, and econometrics/forecasting (Coakley, Drakos, Eales, Fuertes, Kellard, Menyah, Pearlman, Sarantis, Stewart, Wilson).
In addition, active researchers specialise in a number of areas: European economics, growth and trade (Pearlman, Stibora); comparative and industrial economics (Liu); labour economics (Harper); methodology, philosophy and economic history (Witztum); urban and regional economics (Wood).

This is the major research grouping located in the Department of Economics. It was set up with an initial sponsorship by the Hang Seng Bank. The Centre's fundamental aim is to provide a forum for the coordination and development of a critical mass of research expertise in the broad area of financial economics, and to produce research output of high quality, with the overriding aim of increasing the staff publication rate and improving the Department's research assessment rating.
The Centre publishes its own series of Discussion Papers, most of which are presented by staff at national and international conferences. Many of these have been published or accepted for publication in good journals (see RA2 and RA6d). The discussion papers are circulated widely to financial institutions and universities. Together with the conferences, the discussion papers series has played a crucial role in fostering the development of links with financial institutions. CICM organises annual conferences on topical financial/economic issues, which have played an important role in enhancing the centre's reputation in the financial sector. A distinctive feature of these conferences is that they bring together practitioners and academic speakers.

Conferences organised:

1. "Derivatives in Fund Management", September 1996, sponsored by BZW.
2. "Nonlinear Exchange Rate Predictions", September 1997, sponsored by BZW.
3. "Financial Liberalisation and Economic Growth in Emerging Markets",
November 1998, sponsored by Standards & Poor's DRI.
4. "Currency Crises", December 1999.

5."Country Risk in Emerging Markets“, April 2001

(d) Relationships with industry and commerce, government etc.
Guildhall Economics has close links to the user community in the City and industry. The main source of external links with the financial sector is through CICM. Several CICM members enjoy national and international reputations through their publications and professional work. Some members of the Centre have worked in the City for international banks and the derivatives industry. Consultancies include work for Barings, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Deutsche Bank, Invesco, DRI Europe, Mercury, Futures and Options World (FOW), Cambridge Econometrics, Cathy & West Ltd, Simmons & Simmons, Longman Law Tax and Finance, and UN Economic and Social Commission for South East Asia and the Pacific.
Witztum was an invited keynote speaker at a conference of the National Training Fund (World Bank) and the Russian Ministry of Education in January 2001. Finally, links also exist through current and past students who have taken up positions in international financial institutions (eg HSBC, UBS, Schroder, Merril Lynch, Robert Flemming, State Street Trust Bank), and because the Department's research output has policy and commercial relevance.

(e) External Funding

During the last five years, the Department's strategy and priority has been to promote the development of a critical mass of research expertise with publications in good refereed journals. This would then provide the basis for attracting and retaining younger researchers and seeking future funding from external sources.
A Departmental research proposal on openness, capital mobility, financial liberalisation and growth (Sarantis and Pearlman) reached second stage consideration by the Leverhulme Trust but ultimately was unsuccessful. A revised proposal is currently under consideration by the ESRC. CICM has attracted external funding for its conferences (see (c) above).

(f) Support for interdisciplinary or collaborative research.
The research culture of the Department encourages collaborative research. Evidence for collaborative output can be seen in RA2. Coakley and Fuertes have strong links with researchers at Birkbeck College (Professor Smith and Dr Zoega) and University of Valladolid (Professor Perez), Kellard with Nottingham (Professors Newbold, Rayner), Liu with the LSE (Yao), Pearlman with LBS (Professors Currie, Henry, and Caporale, while they were still at LBS) and Surrey (Professor Levine), Stibora with the LSE (Marcia Schafgaus).
Inter-disciplinary work is represented in RA2 mainly by Wood who has links with South Bank (Professor Ball) and Witztum. Note also that the research basis of CICM is also interdisciplinary, embracing law as well as economics and finance.

Staffing Policy

(a) Staff development
During the last ten years it has been the policy of this Department to replace departing and retiring staff with active researchers. RAE funds have played a crucial role in supplementing research and staff development income allocated from central University funds. Thus it has proved possible to maintain this policy while at the same time filling gaps in the Department’s research profile and building up expertise in specialist areas of economics and finance.
The increasingly recognised and expanding academic research output of the Department, together with the staff seminar programme and conferences organised by CICM, have been instrumental in creating a stimulating research environment. The Department's discussion papers are subject to thorough internal peer review before publication. A high proportion of these widely circulated working papers have been published or accepted for publication in good journals. This RAE submission should be read in the context of higher staff mobility than in previous RAE submissions. One new member of staff is a promising young researcher (Drakos) who has just completed his PhD at the University of Essex. Drakos has already published three discussion papers and has had three papers accepted for publication (see RA6d). Kellard and Stewart are highly active and ambitious young researchers with strong research future; they both have had papers from their PhD theses presented at the RES and MMF conferences and published or accepted for publication in good journals (see RA2 and RA6d). The Department is currently advertising posts to replace Coakley and Fuertes with research active staff.

(b) Research Students support.
The Department has a strong PhD programme and several students have gone on to lectureships in UK and overseas universities (eg Kingston, London Guildhall, Westminster, Autonomous University Madrid) and positions in influential institutions (NIESR and ECB). One of the benefits of the Department's stronger research profile has been the attraction of a relatively high number of good postgraduate research students in recent years. Over 70% of staff are now engaged in post-graduate supervision and/or teaching postgraduate course units.
Currently members of the Department supervise 15 postgraduate research degree students (MPhil and PhD) who are self-financed. Some 8 students successfully completed their PhD theses and 1 an MPhil in the 1997/2000 period. The Department Research Committee monitors the performance of individual students and supervisors. Initial research proposals for MPhil/PhD and applications for transfer from MPhil to PhD are scrutinised by the Departmental Research Committee before being submitted to the University Research Degrees Sub-Committee for final assessment and approval. Young staff members are also encouraged to attend the University's Training Programme for PhD supervision.

(c) Departing Staff.
The A* entries include Coakley who left to take up the Chair in Finance at Essex and Fuertes who went to CUBS in February 2001, as well as Wilson who went to St Andrews in late 2000. Included in the 1996 RAE was Budd who joined Brunel. He had papers in Regional Studies and Urban Studies and would have been included in RA2 had he stayed. Janssen, a banking expert who has publications in the Economic Journal and International Finance, rejoined the Bank of England in mid 2000 (unfortunately he doesn’t count as A* since he has not joined another higher education institute). Cowen, who died in 2000 and had an international reputation in economic development, was a considerable loss to the Department. Clearly the loss of these researchers has had an impact on the Department since some have not yet been replaced (Coakley and Fuertes) while the others were replaced with young lecturers (Drakos, Kellard and Stewart).

Users of this website should note that the information is not intended to be a complete record of all research centres in the UK

Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL

Last updated 17 October 2003

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