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Process for nominating and appointing panel members

1.    In July 2004, the higher education funding bodies sought nominations for panel members for the 2008 RAE, from subject associations and other stakeholder organisations (RAE 03/2004 'Units of assessment and recruitment of panel members'). We invited nominations for all roles on panels apart from main panel chairs and panel observers. All panel roles and the criteria for appointment are described in detail in RAE 03/2004.

2.    The bodies we invited to nominate were those that had submitted nominations for the 2001 RAE, supplemented by suggestions from higher education institutions (HEIs) and other interested parties following a consultation document issued in February 2004 (RAE 02/2004 'Panel configuration and recruitment'). We did not invite or accept nominations from HEIs or from individuals. We received a total of 4,948 nominations from 1,371 bodies.

Appointment of main panel chairs

3.    The funding bodies sought applications in July 2004 for 15 main panel chairs, through advertisements in the national and specialist press. Applicants were asked to demonstrate a significant personal record in research at the highest level; previous experience in quality assessment, research management or leadership across a broad disciplinary field; and experience in leading groups of their peers to shared decisions. We received 106 high quality applications for these positions. The chief executives (or equivalent) of the four funding bodies appointed 15 main panel chairs from 12 UK HEIs in October 2004.

Selection of sub-panel chairs and members

4.    The funding bodies' chief executives appointed 67 sub-panel chairs after considering the weight of nominations for individuals and taking advice in confidence from the relevant main panel chairs. Similarly, sub-panel members were appointed by the funding bodies' chief executives from among those nominated, taking account of the weight of nominations and advice from the relevant sub-panel and main panel chairs. In appointing sub-panel members, the funding bodies aimed to ensure that the collective expertise of each sub-panel was appropriate for the unit of assessment, and that the overall body of members reflected the diversity of the UK research community.

Specialist advisers

5.    Alongside nominations for panel chairs and members, we received almost 300 nominations for specialist advisers. We have retained their details so that we may contact them nearer the assessment phase of the 2008 RAE. Specialist advisers will be appointed by the chief executives of the funding bodies and managed by the RAE team, and will play an important role in the exercise. They will be appointed where a sub-panel has to assess either significant work in a sub-disciplinary area that crosses the boundaries of units of assessment, or work that the members of the sub-panel do not collectively have the expertise to assess.