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29 April 2008

To   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
Cc RAE contacts at UK HEIs

RAE Circular Letter 2008/01

For further information contact Ed Hughes, Davina Madden or Raegan Hiles, tel 0117 931 7267; e-mail

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

Research Assessment Exercise 2008: publication of results

1.   I am writing to confirm the timing and arrangements for publishing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 results. I am copying this letter, for information, to the nominated RAE contact at your institution. No response is required to this letter.

2.   The RAE team previously advised higher education institutions (HEIs) that it would publish the RAE2008 results in December 2008 in the form of a quality profile for each submission (see paragraphs 30-31 and Annex A of RAE 03/2005, 'RAE2008: Guidance on submissions'). I am now writing to confirm the precise date and arrangements for publication.

Format and timing of publication

3.   On 18 December 2008, the RAE team on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies will publish the results on the RAE website and in a printed publication titled 'Research Assessment Exercise 2008: the outcome'. We will send hard copies to reach HEIs on 18 December 2008: 10 copies per each head of institution and one copy per each RAE contact.

4.   The outcome publication will comprise tabulated overall quality profiles per unit of assessment (UOA) and per institution. Each quality profile will present the proportions, rounded to 5 per cent, of research activity in each submission judged to have met each of the quality levels from 4* to unclassified. Alongside the quality profile for each submission, we will publish the full-time equivalent (FTE) number of Category A staff included in the submission.

5.   The publication of the results on the RAE website will comprise the same information as described in paragraph 4.

Release of results and feedback confidentially to institutions

6.   On 17 December 2008, each funding body will release results to each of the HEIs it funds, in confidence and under embargo until 0001 on 18 December 2008. The results released in confidence on 17 December will follow the same format as the ultimate publication: a quality profile for each submission made by that institution, accompanied by the FTE number of Category A staff submitted. The funding bodies will advise the HEIs they fund how they will disseminate these confidential results.

7.   On 5 January 2009, each funding body will release confidential feedback to each of the HEIs it funds. The feedback will comprise, for each submission:

Publication of other RAE material

8.   In January 2009, the RAE team will publish a subject overview report for each UOA, drafted by the relevant sub-panel. Each report will give a brief account of the sub-panel's observations about the state of research in the subject areas it assessed. Reports will be grouped by main panel area.

9.   Later in spring 2009, the RAE team will publish the sub-profiles. The funding bodies have decided that leaving a period of time between the confidential release of sub-profiles to HEIs and the planned publication of sub-profiles will enable institutions to reflect privately on their RAE results before they are inevitably requested and released into the public domain. However, we will not publish sub-profiles for any submission whose headcount of submitted staff (Category A plus Category C) was three or fewer, because of the inferences that could be drawn about the quality of the published output of individual researchers in very small submissions.

10.   Also in spring 2009, the RAE team will publish on the RAE website the actual submissions, apart from personal and contractual details and information marked by HEIs as confidential because of its commercial or other sensitivity.

Yours sincerely

Ed Hughes
RAE Manager