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Background to the RAE 2008

Following the 2001 RAE the UK funding bodies commissioned a review, led by Sir Gareth Roberts, to consider how to assess research in the future. This was followed by a widespread consultation on its findings. Although some changes were made to the process as a consequence, there was very strong endorsement for the 2008 RAE to be based upon expert review by discipline-based panels considering submissions from HEIs. For this reason, the funding bodies retained expert review at the heart of the process for 2008.

In April 2002, the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee published a report on the RAE. The report concluded that: 'The RAE has had positive effects: it has stimulated universities into managing their research and has ensured that funds have been targeted at areas of research excellence.' The report also advised that a further RAE should be carried out in 2008.

In July 2004, the Government published a ten-year investment framework for science and innovation. The report confirmed that the dual-support system for public funding of research in the UK should continue.