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RAE milestone reached - criteria and working methods published

31 January 2006

The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) criteria and working methods by subject panels were published today by the four UK HE funding bodies. Along with the guidance on submissions, these will provide the key information for institutions as they prepare their RAE submissions. In publishing the criteria almost two years before the submission date, the funding bodies have maintained their commitment to give early notice about the details of the process. And they emphasise that the RAE 2008 will provide a flexible framework for all forms of research to be assessed on an equitable basis.

Criteria and working method statements have been developed for each Unit of Assessment following meetings of the 67 sub-panels and the 15 overarching main panels, and crucially, a period of consultation which resulted in over 500 responses from HEIs, subject associations, learned societies, Research Councils and other stakeholder bodies. The final criteria take full account of the feedback from the consultation process - both at the subject level and, importantly, to achieve consistency across the exercise on matters of principle.

Ed Hughes, RAE Manager, said:

"The publication of the final criteria is testament to an enormous amount of hard-work and dedication by panel members over the last year. We are also grateful to all those who responded to the consultation and have helped the panels develop robust and appropriate criteria for assessment.

"A number of changes to the criteria were made to ensure that the assessment would be consistent across related subject areas. The funding bodies and the panels have worked together to address the concerns raised through the consultation."

Sir Howard Newby, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:

"This is a significant milestone in the progress towards RAE 2008. It is important that institutions consider the final criteria carefully when preparing their submissions. The criteria address a number of policy areas which are important to the funding bodies - for example, their commitment to equal opportunities; the full and fair assessment of applied research, practice-based research and interdisciplinary research; and the sustainability and vitality of the research base through the support of early career researchers. The panels' criteria balance the diversity of research in the sector with some important principles which underpin the assessment of research quality in HEIs."


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 Funding Council for Further and Higher Education, 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 final statements of criteria and working methods are published in RAE 01/2006. They will be available on the RAE web-site from 0900 on Tuesday 31 January. Full details of the consultation are in RAE 04/2005.