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'Utterly hypocritical' for vice-chancellors to celebrate REF results whilst researchers leave the sector

12 May 2022

UCU said it is wrong for vice-chancellors to celebrate their Research Excellence Framework results whilst almost three in four researchers are set to leave higher education.

The union was responding to the publication of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 results. UCU's own report into the state of higher education shows that three in four researchers want to leave the sector over low pay and working conditions.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'The UK is home to outstanding researchers and produces world leading research, year in, year out. But the Research Excellence Framework remains a flawed, bureaucratic nightmare and emblematic of a research culture obsessed with arbitrarily designating institutions or departments as "winners" or "losers". It is a drain on the time and resources of university staff, and funding often entrenches structural inequalities.

'Rather than hijacking and seeking to capitalise on the hard work of research and academic related staff, university bosses would do well to address the reality for those who work in research. Almost three in four researchers say they will leave higher education over deteriorating pay and working conditions. It is utterly hypocritical for management to fawn over today's results after cutting pensions and without providing staff a decent pay rise or addressing working conditions that leave them planning a career elsewhere.'



Last updated: 12 May 2022