DFES has published today "The future of higher education: Commentary on responses received on the Higher Education White Paper and Paper on Widening Participation".
This, it would seem, sets out those proposals from the HE White Paper which the government plans to forge ahead with, and those proposals on which the government has reached a modified view after receiving comments on the HE White Paper.
The HE White Paper reforms will obviously have a very significant influence on the future funding of HE across all subject areas. For the discipline of archaeology one of proposals which will have a potentially very significant impact is that for concentrating Higher Education Funding Council for England resources for research within the highest rated institutions (based on the results of the RAE - see http://www.hero.ac.uk/rae/) as part of a process of moving towards a clearer distinction between research-centred and teaching-centred institutions.
On this question, the document published today states:
"There will never be enough public money to fund everyone to do the research they want to do. We must find the most effective way of
targeting it. We need to focus public funding on high quality research, which is at the international cutting edge. And we need to
encourage and support further improvement in quality. But, there is no intention of simply removing all funding from departments outside
the very best, for example those rated 4."
"HEFCE will consult soon on its proposals for the distribution of research funding from 2004-05. But, I can today confirm that funding
for departments rated 4 will be held steady in cash terms. Institutions will therefore be able to plan with some certainty."
The full document can be found online at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/highereducation/hestrategy/pdfs/fhe.pdf
A press release summarising the government's announcement can be found at:
Research and Conservation Officer,
Council for British Archaeology,
Bowes Morrell House,
Tel: 01904 671417
Fax: 01904 671384
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