I am writing following discussion at the Executive Committee to advise members who may not be aware of it about the current consultation on the future of postgraduate research funding by HEFCE. In particular this consultation proposes changes to the allocation method for the research degree programme (RDP) supervision fund from 2012-13 and invites comments on those proposals.
For 2011-12 HEFCE has allocated £205 million for the RDP fund. The funding is distributed by reference to numbers of home and EU students in the first three years of their programme. It currently goes to all universities in support of PGR students. The aim in future, despite proposals to protect or even enhance the aggregate value of RDP funding, is to restrict its allocation to institutions above a threshold profile in the RAE/REF.
MeCCSA is concerned about these proposals as we believe it may have negative effects on support for PGR students in our fields:
1. Because such students are often in small departments across a diverse range of institutions where, despite an overall low volume of QR money (the proxy indicator to be used) there may be excellent research in a communication, cultural or media studies unit or department;
2. Because any such restriction reduces the range of choice available to students seeking appropriate expertise for supervision of their research.
Our main concern is to draw this consultation to the attention of members why may not be aware of it, or who may wish to draw it to the attention of appropriate officers in their institution. The Consultation may be found at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2011/11_09/
Please note the consultation deadline of June 20th. If you do write we would very much like to see a copy. Please send it to Peter Golding (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Hon. Sec. MeCCSA EC.