CGHE Seminar 8

Performance assessment in science: effects of the RAE/REF on academic life

  • Len Ole Schäfer, University of Bamberg

While academic performance in the UK is decreasing in terms of impact and publication rates, inequality is increasing more and more through mechanisms of surveillance and control. The political tool to control science is the RAE and REF, which try to raise economic and symbolic capital instead of raising pure performance.

This seminar will present research results from a project entitled ‘Performance Assessment in Science. RAE/REF’s effects on academic life’. It will introduce a theoretical framework, highlighting two explanatory strategies: ‘functional’ and ‘conflict’ approaches. The seminar will examine hypotheses and empirical results concerning the effects of the RAE/REF on academic life: on a) research performance; b) inequality; c) diversity; d) academic freedom; e) research and teaching; and f) recruitment policies.

The empirical part of the study will analyse quantitative material from the field of chemistry concerning the effects of the RAE/REF on inequality and research performance. The seminar will also reveal details of a qualitative study involving interviews with those in the fields of science and politics.

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Len Ole Schäfer

Len Ole Schäfer

Len Ole Schäfer is working as a visiting doctoral scholar at UCL Institute of Education for three months, and he is PhD student in Sociology at the University of Bamberg, Germany working in the research project ‘unintended effects of science performance assessment’ conducted under the direction of Professor Richard Münch at Bamberg University. The project is implemented in the funding line ‘performance assessment in science’, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science and is coordinated at TU Munich, Germany. His research focuses on the RAE/REF’s effects on academic life.

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