Your feedback is sought as HEFCE consult on the distribution method for research degree programme funding to institutions in England.
HEFCE allocate around £205m annually to institutions to support provision of research degree (mainly doctoral) education. This does not cover the full cost of doctoral education to institutions, which is also funded by fees and other research funding sources. Institutions must meet the minimum standard of research degree provision set out in Section 1 of the QAA Code of Practice in order to receive the funding.
Government policy is to weight research funding to institutions where research is judged to be internationally excellent.
HEFCE is proposing to weight research degree programme funding towards institutions with an internationally excellent research profile.
It is also proposing that where the research degree programme funding exceeds a certain proportion of the overall research funding allocated to that institution by HEFCE, that institution should not be eligible for research degree programme funding.
HEFCE's rationale is to encourage the provision of research degree programmes in institutions or departments where there is a high quality research environment in place for those students.
Institutions without an internationally excellent research profile as judged by the national research assessment process would lose out under these measures. If they choose to cut some elements of their research degree provision and focus only on those departments or research areas that are judged excellent, this could limit the availability of research degree provision in some regions or subjects.
There is not necessarily a strong link between the quality of research in any given department, and the quality of the research environment in support provisions for research students.
We want to hear what you think about HEFCE's proposals. Talk to your institution and to PhD researchers, and find out what they think. Contact us with your thoughts by 15 June at the latest.
For more information on the consultation and to respond visit HEFCE's website.
The final deadline for the consultation is 20 June 2011.