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RAE 2008: Updated equality briefing for panel chairs, members, advisors and secretaries

May 2007

Ref RAE 02/2007

To: RAE main and sub-panel chairs and members and RAE panel advisors and secretaries
Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
Heads of HEFCW-funded higher education institutions
Heads of SFC-funded higher education institutions
Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Of interest to those responsible for: Research assessment, Research policy, Human resources, Planning
Reference: RAE 02/2007
Publication date: May 2007
Enquiries to Raegan Hiles or Davina Madden
tel 0117 931 7267

Executive summary (read on-line)



[ MS Word 102K | Zipped Word 18K | Adobe PDF 102K | Zipped PDF 85K ]

NB: Adobe pdf versions amended 20 June 2007. This affects the front cover only.

Executive summary


1.   This briefing updates and supersedes 'Equality briefing for panel chairs, members and secretaries' (RAE 02/2005). It provides information on equal opportunities issues for main and sub-panel chairs and members, and panel advisors and secretaries, in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). 1

Key points

2.   The update takes account of changes to the law since February 2005, in particular the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 in October 2006, the amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act in December 2006, and the introduction of the gender equality duty in the Equality Act 2006 in April 2007. It significantly affects the following paragraphs: 18 (age), 19-20 (disability) and 35 (individual staff circumstances). Table 1, 'Summary of equality legislation' has also been updated accordingly.

3.   The RAE team based at HEFCE has commissioned this updated briefing from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU). The briefing alerts panel chairs, members, advisors and secretaries to the scope and implications of equalities legislation for the RAE in 2008.

4.   Through this briefing, 'Guidance to panels' (RAE 01/2005) and the generic statement (PDF 166K) in 'Panel criteria and working methods' (RAE 01/2006), the RAE team will guide main and sub-panels to employ working methods consistent with their published criteria and equal opportunities legislation. The criteria and working methods encourage higher education institutions (HEIs) to submit the work of all of their excellent researchers in the 2008 RAE, including those whose volume of research output may have been limited for reasons covered by equal opportunities legislation. Panel advisors and secretaries will be briefed on the content of this update, which will inform the advice and support they provide to panel chairs and members.

5.   To comply with equal opportunities monitoring legislation, we require HEIs to confirm that they have developed, adopted and documented an appropriate internal code of practice in preparing submissions and selecting staff for inclusion in RAE submissions. Guidance for institutions, drafted by the ECU, on drawing up a code of practice is in Annex G of 'Guidance on submissions' (RAE 03/2005). The annex is intended as guidance: it does not prescribe the exact format or content of institutions' codes of practice.

Action required

6.   No action is required of HEIs at this stage. This document is aimed at RAE panel chairs, members, advisors and secretaries.


1. For the 2005 meetings, each panel had a panel secretary and an assistant panel secretary. For the assessment phase, each panel will have a panel advisor and a panel secretary. These terms have been adopted to more clearly describe each role. During 2008, panel advisors will be seconded from higher education institutions (HEIs) on a part-time basis, while panel secretaries will be seconded from HEIs full time to service the panels.