Our response to HEFCE's consultation on proposed changes allocation methods for the research degree programme supervision fund welcomes increased funding and encourages the linkage of funding with research quality
Response submitted 2011
The Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) welcomes this opportunity to comment on HEFCE’s consultation on “allocation method for postgraduate research funding from 2012-13”
We welcome changes to the allocation method for the research degree programme (RDP) supervision fund from 2012-13, especially the proposed increase in funds by £35 million (in addition to the current £205 million).
We support the proposal to link the allocation of RDP supervision funding to quality as this will best support meeting the aim of HEFCE to support the supervision of students in higher-quality research environments.
No response provided
We do wish to note that while the value of an institution’s RDP grant relative to its mainstream QR grant provides a useful indicator of the sustainability of postgraduate supervisory activity at whole-institution level, some universities, which contain some clusters of research excellence with strong PhD programmes, may lose out in the future. University ‘averages’ may dilute funds allocated to currently strong PhD programmes.
A formula based on successful completions within specific outlets (e.g. within REF units of assessment) would enable more specific targeting of funds. The latter would allow recognition of those outlets that traditionally have done well with respect to PhD supervision and completions, rather than favouring weaker outlets embedded within strong research institutions.
We caution that TEF metrics must appropriately recognise issues around equality and access, and should be better defined and communicated. We support the focus on teaching quality
We welcome Ofqual proposals to discontinue some courses, and strongly opposes a proposed regulatory framework to let exam boards develop core subject content.
Our response calls for greater emphasis on fundamental knowledge, understanding and skills, and advocates for subject-specialist staff and later implementation of streaming into vocational or academic pathways.
Our evidence submission advocates for the role of geography in education, and the timetabled provision of geography in primary schools.
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