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.
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The Department for Education sought views on whether proposed subject content will develop the digital skills needed for work and everyday life. Our response focused on the further development of spatial literacy and the use of digital map apps and websites.
Our response, to proposed changes to qualifications for students from 14-16, agreed that most students should study an "academic core", and that issues of equivalence between academic and vocation qualifications should be addressed.
Our response welcomes the inclusion of geography as an EBacc subject, and predicts that inclusion will increase uptake of geography in schools. It also highlights the role of the Society in providing professional development and implementing the Action Plan for Geography
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