HEFCE to seek new set of performance indicators for higher education

Research and Innovation Development Office

Category: Research news

8 July 2014

The steering group reviewing the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) UK performance indicators for higher education has decided to change the way it measures research performance.

The group made the decision after receiving responses to its consultation on the review of the indicators, published in December 2013. The majority of respondents recommended dropping the existing research performance indicators in favour of developing a different set of metrics. However, most of those who suggested that new indicators were needed did not specify what these should be.

At present, the set includes four indicators of annual research output: numbers of PhDs awarded, amount of research grants, and number of contracts obtained, all relative to the academic staff costs of an institution; and the funding council allocation of quality-related research funds to that institution. The steering group found that those indicators were not widely used and were poorly understood by universities.

The existing indicators will be phased out in July 2015, but the group made no firm commitment on the timing of the replacement measures. As the results of the Research Excellence Framework will be published in 2015, it was felt that 2015 was a convenient year for there to be a gap in the publication of the indicators.

The steering group will work with research councils and other interested parties to set up an expert group for discussions on the new set of indicators. It will also consider ways of measuring research output that may be of use in developing the new indicators.

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