REF results: UCU response

18 December 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU said today that academic and academic-related staff should be congratulated for their dedication and hard work, following the publication of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) results.

The results confirm the UK's position as a global leader when it comes to research. However, UCU said that too often world-leading research was being conducted by people with little or no job security.

UCU said the government had to recognise that high-quality research is widely distributed throughout UK institutions and should be rewarded with proper public funding. The union warned institutions against using any perceived low scores as an excuse to consider reducing staff numbers. It added that lots of research not included or rated highly in the REF still made a hugely important contribution.

In a recent report UCU called for a fundamental review of UK research, including an examination of how the research pot is shared out. UCU argued that the government must allocate greater resources across more institutions to cover more diverse areas of research.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Today's results confirm that staff in our universities continue to do so much to uphold the UK's proud and longstanding international reputation. The calibre of research at UK institutions is incredibly high and staff must be congratulated for their hard work and excellent research.

'Our universities must be free to continue pushing the boundaries in their cutting-edge work. We must also recognise that a lot of research not included or rated highly in the REF is still incredibly important.

'Too often our world-leading research is being conducted by people with little or no job security. Universities must avoid any knee-jerk reactions to the results or use perceived low scores to try and make unnecessary cuts.

'We are not alone in criticising what we see as a flawed process when it comes to the REF and have outlined the need for a fundamental overhaul of the research system. We want to see better funding that expands our research base, covering more institutions and more diverse areas of research.'

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