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Over 900 academics selected to assess research in 2008

9th May 2005

The four UK higher education funding bodies have appointed over 900 experts to the 67 sub-panels for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The lists are published today (9 May). Sub-panels are responsible for the core work in assessing research submitted by universities and colleges, and making recommendations to main panels on the quality profiles to award for each submission.

The sub-panels are part of a new two-tier structure for the 2008 RAE. Each sub-panel is part of one of 15 main panels, which together cover the full range of research across all subject areas.

Ed Hughes, RAE Manager, said:

'We are fortunate to have been able to appoint individuals, including users of research, who have the respect of the academic and wider research community, extensive research experience, and a good understanding of the needs of research users and commissioners of research from both the public and commercial sectors. We are looking forward to the sub-panels working closely together within the broader main panels as the RAE moves forward.'

The sub-panel members and chairs were appointed from nearly 5,000 nominations by almost 1,400 bodies including subject associations, professional and practitioner bodies, commercial organisations and other stakeholders. Decisions were made by the funding bodies' chief executives, 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 subject, and that the overall body of members reflected the diversity of the UK research community.

Ed Hughes said:

'Main and sub-panels have been meeting over the first few months of the year to establish their draft criteria and working methods. These will be developed to ensure appropriate measures of excellence are adopted which are wide enough to capture all types of research, including practice-based research, applied research, basic/strategic research, and interdisciplinary research. Panels have also been considering how to assess the sustainability and vitality of each submission, including the contributions to research excellence made by less experienced researchers alongside those of more experienced colleagues.'

The draft criteria will be available for consultation and comment on the RAE website from 16 July to 19 September 2005. The funding bodies welcome responses from all interested parties, including subject associations, professional bodies, HEIs and individuals.

The lists published today include all those who have formally accepted the invitation to serve on RAE panels. International and additional members are now being invited to join the main panels. This process should be complete before the final round of criteria-setting meetings in autumn 2005, when updated lists of panel members will be published on the web.


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 a team based at HEFCE.

2.    The position of sub-panel member was part of the nomination process for RAE 2008. In July 2004 the RAE team invited nominations from an extensive list of key stakeholders. The full list of eligible nominating bodies is available.