Advancing healthcare research in the UK: an appraisal of the impact of Research Capability Funding in a post 1992 university

Petroczi, Andrea and Naughton, Declan (2010) Advancing healthcare research in the UK: an appraisal of the impact of Research Capability Funding in a post 1992 university. Kingston University Research & Innovation Reports (KURIR)(W1), pp. 1-14. ISSN (online) 1749-5652


Background The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is the major vehicle for the evaluation of university-based research in the UK. The latest exercise confirms that research quality in the UK has continued to increase and international and world leading research are now widely distributed throughout the expanding sector. A key feature for healthcare professions has been the enhancement of research through the Research Capability Funding (RCF) scheme. Methods We have analysed the progress made by a modern UK university in the past four RAEs. Submissions into each RAE were assessed for quantity and quality along with relative patterns of growth in sub-disciplines. The effect of the RCF initiative which Allied Health Professions and Nursing & Midwifery received leading up to RAE 2008 are discussed. The overall positions of these sub-disciplines within their respective Units of Assessment and within the University are evaluated. Results In 1992, Kingston University (KU) submitted some 107 staff in eleven units which were rated at national/sub-national levels of research activity. A larger submission of 191.8 staff into seventeen units in 1996 was again characterised by ratings of national/sub-national research activity. In 2001, 154.4 staff were submitted across thirteen units achieving grades that reflected national/sub-national research activity. For RAE 2008, 224 staff were submitted into 18 units with 72% of the research being rated as international. Two thirds of the submissions contained at least 5% world leading research activity. Allied Health Professions has progressed particularly well from a grade 2 in 1996 with 10 staff to over 18 staff being rated as world leading, internationally-excellent or -recognised in 2008. This brings it to eighteenth place out or sixty eight, when ranked by number of staff conducting international research. For Nursing & Midwifery, KU entered a joint submission with SGUL which was comprised of 13.5 FTE and was rated as 4* (15%), 3* (30%), 2*(25), 1* (25) and UC (20%). This ranking based upon the research activities of staff numbers at 2*-4* places the joint submission at number 23 out of 35. Conclusion Researchers at KU have made marked progress in the quality and quantity of their research activities. Progress has been particularly strong during the past RAE period and for Research Capability Funded subjects.

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