GuildHE and GuildHE Research have welcomed the opportunity to contribute to this consultation. The future design of research assessment is incredibly important for our members.
Amongst these institutions there are those which have submitted to the current exercise for the first time, those that return to a single Unit of Assessment (a single or a grouping of similar disciplines), those that are meeting key milestones, such as achieving University Title or preparing applications for Research Degree Awarding Powers, and many which focus their energies on methodologies and types of research, such as practice research, applied research, and translation research which are less prevalent elsewhere.
In short, we respond on behalf of institutions that are atypical in the exercise, and ensuring the assessment is cognisant of their differences is vital to their success. We have drawn upon this diversity to provide a response which we hope offers useful insights and constructive suggestions for the evolution of research assessment in the UK.
In our view future assessments should achieve the following:
- Proportionality of assessment, with more appreciation of institutional context throughout;
- Equitable treatment of all disciplines, people, and institutions;
- Targeted support for developing research environments between exercises, adopting mechanisms that gear investments to enable those growing fastest to sustain, reach their ambitions, and collaborate more effectively with others;
- Embracing broader conceptions of excellence, and a critical reflection on the language used in the system to be more inclusive;
- Prioritise the effect of assessment on research culture, and in particular consider ways the assessment can reward good practices and processes, not just excellence in outputs;
- A higher priority on Environment, to ensure that all institutions can be assessed equitably, judged on their own merits, and be empowered to commit to encouraging positive research cultures that are rewarded for how they work as much as for what they produce.
We look forward to working with the funders in the coming months as they analyse the evidence and develop the assessment design.
View our consultation response here.