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Data Protection and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise

The purpose of the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 (RAE2008) was to assess the quality of UK research and to inform the selective distribution of public funds for research by the four UK higher education funding bodies. Any HEI eligible to receive funding from one of the four UK higher education funding bodies could make a submission in any of the 67 Units of Assessment. The information included in each submission was assessed to form a quality profile for the research activity of the submitting department or group.

Full information about the data required for the RAE2008 is available in RAE 03/2005, 'Guidance on submissions' and RAE 01/2006, 'Panel criteria and working methods'. The data required includes staff details, such as name and date of birth.

The RAE team, based at HEFCE, collected these data on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. HEFCE holds the data on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. Data collected as part of the RAE could be passed to all of the UK funding bodies, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and occasionally to researchers working on their behalf. HESA staff and RAE data were linked to monitor equal opportunities and better understand the effects of the RAE.

We will publish on the internet those parts of submissions that contain factual data and textual information about research activity, and anticipate doing so in the spring of 2009. The published details will include the names of staff and the listings of research output but remove personal and contractual details.

The Data Protection Act requires institutions to inform their staff how data about them will be used. To assist with this, we provided a model staff data collection notice for the RAE2008, which institutions can adapt to their own circumstances.

Model staff data collection notice

[ MS Word 55K | Zipped Word 8K | Adobe PDF 14K| Zipped PDF 11K ]

Further information is available from HEFCE about the Data Protection Act and guidance on making a subject access request.