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RAE 2008 Main Panel Chairs appointed

28 September 2004

The four UK higher education funding bodies are pleased to announce the appointment of 15 distinguished academics to chair the Main Panels for the next Research Assessment Exercise, due to take place in 2008 (RAE 2008).

The 15 Main Panels are part of a new two-tier panel structure for the 2008 exercise. Each Main Panel will work with a group of Sub-Panels which together cover the full range of academic research in the related subject areas (see table below).

The position of chairs for the Main Panels was advertised nationally, attracting 106 applications. Rama Thirunamachandran, Director of Research & Knowledge Transfer at HEFCE, said:

'The standing of these individuals will provide the RAE Main Panels with leadership of the highest quality, and will greatly assist the Sub-Panel members and chairs in the development of appropriate working methods, and assessment criteria.'

The funding bodies are delighted to have been able to select the Main Panel Chairs from a field of exceptional candidates. This process has led to the appointment of academics from 12 institutions. The candidates were selected on the basis of their significant personal research record, understanding of the role and impact of the RAE, and senior experience in conducting or commissioning research, research management or leadership across a broad discipline field. In addition, candidates were required to demonstrate knowledge of research quality assessment and peer review, and experience of committee work.

The two-tier panel structure is a significant change from the previous RAE, and is designed to ensure a consistent approach to the assessment of cognate subject areas. The role of the Main Panel Chair is crucial to ensuring that the 2008 RAE panel structure allows the successful development of consistent overall quality standards, common assessment procedures and equal opportunities guidance.

These appointments mark the first stage in establishing the panel and sub-panel membership. The composition of the main and sub-panels will be announced in December 2004, with the first panel meetings scheduled for early 2005. Guidance for panels on establishing appropriate working methods and criteria will also be published at this time. Universities, colleges and other interested bodies will be consulted on the draft criteria and working methods during the late summer of 2005.

For further information contact Ed Hughes, RAE Manager, tel 0117 931 7265, e-mail, or Roger Grinyer, Head of Corporate Communications, HEFCE, tel 0117 931 7307, e-mail


1.    The Research Assessment Exercise is sponsored by the four UK funding bodies for higher education: the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland. It is managed by HEFCE.

2.    Further information about the exercise is on the RAE web-site.

RAE 2008 Main Panel Chairs