British Academy responds to the Government’s Green Paper for Higher Education

6 Nov 2015

Responding to the publication of the Government'sGreen Paper for Higher Education – Fulfilling Our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice – Alun Evans, Chief Executive of the British Academy, said: 

"In the humanities and social sciences, as elsewhere, the UK's higher education sector is internationally renowned for its quality and breadth. 

"The Academy welcomes the Green Paper's clear focus on recognising the importance of teaching quality to the sector, and the Government's acknowledgement that the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework needs to be sensitive to the diverse ways in which quality is delivered in different disciplines. It is important that assessing teaching quality does not place unnecessary burdens on the sector.

"We also welcome the Green Paper's commitment to the dual-support system, which is critical to maintaining a diverse research base and funding excellence wherever it is found.  Excellent research drives excellent teaching – and the two systems of assessment should be coordinated so that research-led teaching in our universities is recognised, and creativity promoted. Research in the humanities and social sciences is vital to addressing the most pressing societal challenges such as climate change and an ageing population and should be championed in the research funding landscape.”

The British Academy also supports peer review as the gold standard for assessing quality and allocating research funding, and welcomes the Government's commitment to hold a peer-review led REF exercise by 2021. 

As the Academy engages with the Government and others to explore the issues raised in the Green Paper, it will make clear the need to address the burden of assessment, to understand better how research has impact, in its widest sense, and to ensure that research assessment does not distort research paths – so that humanities and social science research continues to thrive across our higher education sector.

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