Responses to consultations
A chronological list of the British Academy's responses to consultations, from 1999 to the present day.
2020 – 2021
The British Academy submitted a response to a call from the Royal Society’s Mathematical Futures programme.
The British Academy submitted a response to the Office for Students consultation on regulating the quality and standards of higher education providers.
2015 – 2019
The British Academy submitted a response to the Progress on devolution in England inquiry by the Housing, Communities and Local Government committee.
The British Academy submitted a summary statement in response to the Higher Education Statistics Agency consultation on changes to their service offering and subscription model.
The British Academy has responded to the revised Concordat to support research integrity.
The British Academy submitted a response to Research England on the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) consultation.
The British Academy has responded to the call for views on the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework, as part of the Government's independent review.
The UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment (UKSCQA) launched a consultation on proposed changes to the degree classification system in the UK.
The British Academy submitted a response to this consultation in February 2019 on behalf of its Fellowship and the wider humanities and social science community.
The British Academy has responded to the consultation on the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.
The British Academy has responded to the consultation on the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.
The British Academy has responded to the consultation on Environmental Principles and Governance after EU Exit.
The British Academy has responded to the consultation on the Welsh Tertiary Education and Research Commission.
The British Academy has responded to the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper.
The British Academy has responded to the Government consultation on Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework: subject-level.
The British Academy has responded to the Call for Evidence on the Augar's Review of Post-18 Education and Funding.
The British Academy has responded to the Government consultation on the implementation of T-level programmes.
The British Academy has responded to the call to submit evidence to the Knowledge Exchange Framework metrics technical advisory group.
The British Academy has responded to the Science and Technology Committee inquiry into Science Budget and Industrial Strategy.
The British Academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Learned Society of Wales welcomed the opportunity to submit evidence to the House of Lords EU Select Committee inquiry on Brexit: devolution
The British Academy has responded to the Reid Review of Government Funded Research and Innovation in Wales. The review will look at the strengths, gaps and future potential to sustain and grow strong research and innovation activity in Wales.
The British Academy has responded to the consultation on the Industrial Strategy Green Paper. The green paper sets out the Government's vision for a modern industrial strategy and some early actions the Government has committed to take. It aims to start a genuinely open and collaborative conversation about the skills, research, infrastructure and the other things the country needs to get right to drive long term growth in productivity.
The British Academy welcomed the focus on place in the Green Paper, and the importance the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is placing on playing to the strengths of local regions and developing an approach which is sympathetic to the individual needs of different areas of the UK. As the development of an industrial strategy for the UK continues, we would urge this focus on place to remain, with recognition being given to the needs of, and appropriate developments in, different areas of the country.
The British Academy would encourage the Government to focus on the skills brought to the labour market by the study of our disciplines, as well as the benefits to the economy delivered through the STEM subjects, as Government progresses industrial strategy work in the months ahead.
The British Academy has responded to the consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework. The consultation document set out the proposals of the four UK higher education funding bodies for the second Research Excellence Framework (REF) for the assessment of research in UK higher education institutions.
The Academy welcomed the direction of travel in Lord Stern’s Independent Review, ‘Building on Success and Learning from Experience’, particularly around the definition of Impact, and its efforts to reduce the distortion of research careers as a result of the REF and the burden of the exercise. The Academy is encouraged that the principles of the Stern Review are to be operationalised, building on the existing measures in REF2014.
The British Academy welcomes the opportunity to respond to this inquiry. The Academy has undertaken extensive work to address the deficit in quantitative skills (QS) in the UK, through its Quantitative Skills Programme (QS), a 5-year programme funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The programme was guided by the British Academy’s High Level Strategy Group for Quantitative Skills, chaired by Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA.
The response makes the following key points:
- Quantitative skills (QS) are vital for all citizens, enabling them to participate more fully in the democratic process, enhancing research in universities and in the work place, and supporting the economy
- Social sciences, and even the humanities, provide a rich context for the development of ‘STEM skills’, in particular QS, in addition to mathematics and science.
- There needs to be a range of alternative routes for the study of QS post-16, including in further education
- The inclusion of QS in social science curricula throughout the education pipeline could help to deliver ‘STEM skills’ to underrepresented groups including females and students from disadvantaged or ethnic minority backgrounds.
- The recruitment, retention and professional development of data-literate teachers across the sciences, social sciences and humanities are important.
- The Q-Step Programme should be rolled out nationally.
A joint submission from the four UK National Academies to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.
The British Academy welcomes the opportunity to respond to Professor Sir Adrian Smith’s review of post-16 mathematics provision in England. This response draws on the extensive work the Academy has undertaken as part of its Quantitative Skills (QS) Programme, to address the deficit in QS in the UK. In particular the reponse draws on the Academy's Count Us In report which offers a vision of how the UK can rise to the potentially transformational challenge of becoming a data-literate nation.
The response highlights the following key points:
- The ability to understand and interpret data is an essential feature of life in the 21st century: vital for the economy, for our society and for us as individuals.
- The development of QS post-16 is essential for progression to higher education and employment, and should be compulsory for all up to 18.
- This review should address both schools and further education colleges
- Higher education institutes have an important role to play in signalling to schools the importance of QS.
- A number of subjects, beyond simply mathematics and science, provide a rich context for the development of quantitative skills in schools
- Teacher supply, initial teacher training and CPD will be crucial across a breadth of subjects
- There is an important role for policy-makers, learned societies/subject associations and exam boards to play in curricula development and teacher supply and training.
applied to the operation of the TEF in Year Two, which corresponded to the academic year 2016/17.
July 2016: British Academy responds to Teaching Excellence Framework: technical consultation for year 2 The British Academy has responded to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' Teaching Excellence Framework: technical consultation for year 2. The consultation applied to the operation of the TEF in Year Two, which corresponded to the academic year 2016/17.
3 May 2016: British Academy submits evidence to the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee inquiry into Science Communication The British Academy has submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee's inquiry on how the Government, scientists, the media and others encourage and facilitate public awareness of – and engagement in – science.
March 2016: The British Academy responds to Lord Stern’s review of the Research Excellence Framework The British Academy has submitted written evidence to the Lord Stern's review of the Research Excellence Framework. The review examined how university research funding can be allocated more efficiently so that universities can focus on carrying out world-leading research.
6 February 2016: British Academy submits evidence to House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee on Responses to the Strathclyde Review The British Academy has submitted written evidence to the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee seeking responses to the Strathclyde Review, which recommended changes to the way the upper house scrutinises legislation.
22 January 2016: British Academy responds to Higher Education Green Paper The British Academy welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Government’s proposals in the Green Paper "Higher education: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice". Our response provides general comments on the main themes and proposals in the Green Paper, and we look forward to working closely with Government on further details as proposals develop. The response by the British Academy highlights the following points:
- Dual support is central to the continued success and strength of the UK’s research base. Every possible step must be taken to ensure that this is maintained in any new structure, and we would recommend that dual support be written in to the constitution of Research UK.
- By not conceiving of the HE and research system as a whole, Government risks developing a system of policy and regulation that does not reflect the ways in which universities operate.
- The separation of research and teaching – both in terms of institutions of regulation, and policymaking – risks driving the two further apart, and would make the best quality of teaching, that which is research-led, less likely.
- It is not clear where overall system-wide oversight, including of subject-level risks and research capacity, would sit in the new structure.
- Any new system for measuring the quality of teaching must learn lessons from assessing quality in research, and be wary of creating too much burden, or setting in motion incentives that are undesirable.
- The use of metrics to assess teaching quality should be done with caution, particularly in the case of student opinion.
A response to the House of Lords Constitution Committee inquiry on How to Stabilise and Strengthen the Union.
The Academy submitted evidence to the inquiry, highlighting the opportunities of big data, and its associated challenges and risks.
The British Academy has given views on the Government's 'Productivity Plan', highlighing how investment in research is strongly linked to increased productivity.
September 2015: Response to OND within DECC on Implementing Geological Disposal: Working with Communities
The British Academy has given views on the Government's 'Productivity Plan', highlighing how investment in research is strongly linked to increased productivity.
The British Academy submitted a response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into reforming the science budget to make the UK a global competitor in R&D.
August 2015: Response to the Work and Pensions Committee on Pension Freedom Advice and Guidance The British Academy resubmitted a report on changes to pensions to inform the Committee's thinking on this topic.
5 June 2015: British Academy responds to consultation on support for postgraduate study
Under the Coalition, the Government opened a consultation on proposals to introduce loans for postgraduate taught master's degrees and to improve support for research students.The Academy welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this important review, particularly following its previous work in this area. This response notes with enthusiasm the commitment to providing loans for taught postgraduate study. It highlights the complexities of the postgraduate research ecosystem, suggesting that the most efficient and effective method for funding the very best PhD students is through the Research Council studentships.
24 April 2015: British Academy submits evidence to Nurse Review of Research Councils
This submission by the British Academy highlights the following points:
- We strongly support the current structure of dual support for UK research funding. This allows for a common funding ‘ladder’ of grants, of which all parts are an essential component, each enabling and complementing the other.
- Capacity should be maintained for both investigator-led and strategically-led research.
- As per our submission to the triennial review of the research councils, we do not see any benefit in merging the ESRC and the AHRC.
- Indeed, based on the size of the research community in the humanities and social sciences, the quality of the output, and the significance of the challenges we face as a society, there is a strong case for re-examining the low proportion of research council funding currently allocated to the AHRC and the ESRC.
- Enhanced collaboration between the research councils could be achieved through a more prominent role for RCUK.
2010 – 2014
The British Academy has responded to the HEFCE survey on internationalising the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The survey sought views on the potential benefits and challenges of expanding the UK’s research assessment system on an international basis. The Academy’s response highlights the need for clarity on the model, aims and intended benefits of internationalisation of the REF and also notes issues that might affect the Humanities and Social Sciences in particular.
The British Academy submitted written evidence to a Political and Constitutional Reform Committee inquiry on The Future of Devolution after the Referendum. The submission presents recommendations to the question posed by the Committee, regarding the future and nature of devolution in the UK in the aftermath of the Scottish Referendum on independence.
This submission by the British Academy highlights the need for RCUK Policy on Open Access to be sensitive to the distinctive features of publishing in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). It discusses evidence of compliance with the ‘Green’ Open Access embargo periods and considers the impact of a requirement for Creative Commons licensing on HSS.
Find out more about how the British Academy has contributed to the debate on Open Access.
The British Academy and Honor Frost Foundation Steering Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage submitted written evidence to a Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into Tourism. The submission presents evidence into the UK's maritime heritage as one of its greatest domestic and international assets, and how it could make a greater contribution to the UK's tourism industry.
The British Academy has responded to the Government’s consultation on its Science and Innovation strategy. This advice develops the common concerns that were emphasised in the joint statement from all four national academies (Aacdemy of Medical Sciences, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, and Royal Society). The British Academy wholeheartedly supports the joint response, including its central proposition that a stable 10 year investment framework and a broad research base are essential for research, innovation and skills. In this response there is a particular focus on how the humanities and social sciences contribute to the UK’s ability to maintain its comparative advantages.
The UK's four national academies - the British Academy, the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Academy of Medical Sciences - have jointly responded to the Government's Consultation on Proposals for Long-Term Capital Investment in Science and Research.
The British Academy has responded to the Higher Education Funding Council for England's call for evidence for its review of the role of metrics in research assessment. In our response, we emphasise the consensus across all disciplines that the most reliable way to assess research is by means of peer review, and that while metrics may inform the assessments of specialist panels, they cannot be a sustitute for them.
The British Academy submitted written evidence to a Political and Constitutional Reform Committee inquiry on Voter Engagement in the UK. The submission presents evidence to the inquiry on the reasons for British society's disengagement with politics, the impact of lower voter engagement, as well as strategies to improve voter turnout.
The significant challenges facing the EU can only be addressed by looking to solutions from across the entire spectrum of research – medicine, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts. It is vital that the EU provides opportunities for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research to address these challenges. And this research must be funded in a stable, long-term manner to provide researchers with the support to discover these solutions, identify how to apply them, and understand the implications for the many and diverse societies which constitute the EU.
The British Academy also contributed to the response from the All European Academies (ALLEA).
16 April 2013: British Academy gives evidence to House of Commons select committee inquiry into open access
Professor Chris Wickham, British Academy Vice-President, appeared in front of the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee on Tuesday 16 April to give evidence as part of its inquiry into open access. In his evidence, Professor Wickham continued to make the case for a slower, more nuanced approach to implementing open access for research findings, and argued for a better understanding of the issues surrounding licence conditions. You can watch the committee hearing on Parliament TV here.
The British Academy has offered advice to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to support it in developing the forthcoming consultation on the role of open access publishing in the submission of outputs to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework.
The British Academy has responded to the RCUK’s call for comments on its Open Access Policy and Supporting Guidance, published earlier this month. We criticise the limited amount of time given by RCUK to offer comments on such an important policy, particularly in light of the recent report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee that noted the lack of previous consultation. In our response, we call on the RCUK to improve the clarity and consistency of its guidelines on embargo periods and licences to take into account the impact on the humanities and social sciences. We also urge RCUK to be clear about how the policy will be reviewed and to engage more widely with universities and subject bodies on any further changes, in order to reflect different publication practices across the full spectrum of disciplines.
18 January 2013: Academy submits evidence to House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into the implementation of open access The British Academy has submitted evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee to support its inquiry into the implementation of open access. We have reiterated our concern that the current policies are being implemented too quickly and without a full understanding of the likely impact on humanities and social sciences disciplines. A particular point of concern is the discrepancy between positions on embargo periods. The Finch Report and the Government both expressed the view that these needed to be considered carefully, with an embargo period of 24 months not being unreasonable. RCUK, however, has stated that the maximum embargo period would be 12 months. It is important to ensure that the policies on open access are appropriate and sustainable rather than rush into a one-size-fits-all approach.
Learned societies and subject associations representing humanities and social sciences disciplines remain extremely concerned about the impact of the new research council policies on open access publication that take effect from April next year. In a meeting organised by the British Academy, representatives from a range or organisations argued that enough thought has not been given to the consequences of the new model of charging researchers to publish on academic and university management behaviour. Academics raised questions about the long-term impact of open access publication on highly esteemed learned society journals and on the freedom to publish research in the most appropriate place.
The Academy will continue to advocate on behalf of the humanities and social sciences academic community and ensure their concerns about the impact of the open access policies are given proper consideration by policy makers. It will publish a series of commissioned essays on how academics, learned societies and university managers will deal with the new publishing environment. These essays will look at the impact in different disciplines and explore some of the potential risks involved in a rapid move to open access publication. The first set of essays will be published in spring 2013.
15 October 2012: A briefing on the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill
On 19 October 2012 this Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Baroness Cox of Queensbury, will have its second reading in the House of Lords. This briefing informs the debate around the bill and covers:
- The existing academic evidence about minority legal orders, of which sharia is only one;
- The demand from women for religious tribunals;
- How protecting women is a concern in relation to religious tribunals;
- Alternatives to prohibiting minority legal orders and the ways in which the state can work with minority legal orders.
The British Academy welcomed the report on Overseas Students and Net Migration issued on 6 September by the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and echoed its call on the government to record overseas (non-EU) students under a new classification outside the net migration limits, to allow the UK to attract more overseas students.
The Academy’s President Sir Adam Roberts restated the Academy's longstanding anxieties over the adverse impact of current immigration policy on overseas students and expressly called for them to be treated as a separate and distinct category.
This response to the House of Lords Commitee on Public Service and Demographic Change summarises the report Demographic futures and calls for a change in attitudes and assumptions about ageing and older people in the UK.
This response examines the four legislative proposals made by Ministry of Justice and Department for Education and concludes that none will have an effect on the larger number of non-resident parents who lose contact with their children without litigation occurring. However, the first three proposed clauses could cause harm to some children.
The Academy supports the general move to open access whenever feasible, but has a number of specific concerns about the proposals.
The question of how postgraduate study should be funding in the future has been largely ignored in public debate. Postgraduate study is under threat from a number of quarters, ranging from: increased levels of undergraduate debt; rising postgraduate tuition fee; the shortage of postgraduate funding opportunities; and current immigration policy. The statement makes a number of recommendations aimed at addressing these threats and urges the government to develop a holistic strategy that recognises the value of postgraduate study in the UK.
The Academy continues to express concern at the nature and speed of the government's reforms for higher education, particularly with regard to the impact on postgraduate education and vulnerable areas of provision such as languages (and related area studies) and quantitative skills. It is vital that HEFCE is vigilant about the consequences of the government's reforms in these areas, and places itself in a position to react, or to coordinate reaction, should risks be identified.
The Academy endorsed the draft Concordat to Support Research Integrity. We believe it will play an important role to reaffirm the importance of research integrity within UK institutions, and underline the various roles that people working within the sector have to play to maintain that integrity.
The Academy contributed to the Higher Education Commission's Postgraduate Education Inquiry. Much of the debate in higher education in recent years has focused on the challenges in undergraduate education; the issues facing the postgraduate sector had been largely marginalised in recent debates. Postgraduate is extremely valuable to the UK economy and society, and not solely accruing benefits to the individual. Postgraduate education prepares individuals to enter a wide variety of careers, supports the global competitiveness of the UK economy and ensures the renewal of our academic research base with the very best people.
1 February 2012: British Academy submits evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into science and development
The Academy has contributed to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology inquiry into DfID’s current activities to build scientific capacity in developing countries. A submission from the British Academy to the Science and Technology Inquiry into DFID’s current activities to build scientific capacity in developing countries and a submission from the British Academy to the Science and Technology Inquiry into DFID’s current activities to build scientific capacity in developing countries were submitted in December 2011 and on 1 February 2012, Professor Graham Furniss FBA, Chair of the British Academy’s Africa Panel, will give oral evidence. We welcome DFID’s efforts to build capacity internationally, believing that limited success in this area has in large part been due to the complex nature of capacity building, and the difficulties inherent within this. However, we argue that more could be achieved by a long-term, sustainable approach to activity and by ensuring that strengthening research capacity forms an integral part of the government’s development work. Foremost, the Academy stresses the need to ensure that capacity building is not narrowly defined to refer only to the STEM subjects, and that the value of the humanities and social sciences in addressing development issues be recognised.
12 March 2012: A response to Scotland's Constitutional Future
The British Academy has responded to the Scotland Office consultation on facilitating a legal, fair and decisive referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.
Directive 93/7/EEC makes provisions to ensure the return of national treasures removed from an EU member country and now located in another EU country. This response highlights the most urgent points the British Academy feel the European Commission should address regarding the functioning of the Directive.
This paper for the British Academy Review examines what individual electoral registration would mean, in particular how it would impact on constituency boundaries, and concludes that under the current proposals its introduction could have a profound impact on the nature of British representative democracy.
In this response to HEFCE's consultation, the British Academy makes the case for sustaining the important capability of quantitative methods in the social sciences.
2005 – 2009
26 November 2009: Research Excellence Framework: The British Academy’s Contribution to HEFCE’s consultation
21 November 2009: Research Excellence Framework – Position Statement by the UK Strategic Forum for the Social Sciences
30 September 2009: The Fruits of Curiosity: Science, Innovation and Future Sources of Wealth – A Submission from the British Academy to the Royal Society’s call for evidence
25 September 2009: Setting Science and Technology Research Funding Priorities – A Submission from the British Academy to an Inquiry by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee
January 2009 – updated July 2009: Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy: Evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills
3 June 2009: Language Matters - A Position Paper
3 June 2009: Language Matters: The supply of and demand for UK born and educated academic researchers with skills in languages other than English (Report commissioned from RAND Europe)
12 May 2009: International Development Select Committee Inquiry: DFID’s Programme in Nigeria Submission by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the British Academy
May 2009: Future Directions: A response to the AHRC consultation
March 2009: The Nairobi Report: Frameworks for Africa-UK Research Collaboration in the Humanities and Social Sciences
11 March 2009: Review of Government Official History Programme
October 2008: Submission to RCUK consultation on 'A Code of Conduct and Policy on the Governance of Good Research Conduct'
October 2008: Submission to the DIUS consultation 'A Vision for Science and Society'
September 2008: Submission to the ESRC consultation on its Strategic Plan for 2009-10
April 2008: Joint Guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research: Guidelines for researchers and publishers in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Published jointly by the British Academy and the Publishers Association)
April 2008: Taking Forward the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property: Proposed Changes to Copyright Exceptions - The British Academy Submission to the UKIPO Consultation
March 2008: Review of the 30-year rule
February 2008: Response to the questions posed by the HEFCE consultation on the Research Excellence Framework
17 January 2008: The work and operation of the Copyright Tribunal: A response to the inquiry by the House of Commons Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee
5 September 2007: Peer Review: The Challenges for the Humanities and Social Sciences
2 February 2007: Dearing Review of Language Policy - Response to the Consultation
2 November 2006: AHRC Review of Postgraduate Funding: response
9 October 2006: Response to the DfES consultation on the reform of higher education research assessment and funding
18 September 2006: Copyright and research in the humanities and social sciences
13 July 2006: The British Library’s Content Strategy: Meeting the Knowledge Needs of the Nation
June/July 2006: Response to a Consultation on the Draft Research Agenda for Theme 8 'Socio-Economic Sciences and the Humanities' in the 7th Community RTD Framework Programme (2007-2013)
19 April 2006: Response to the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property
21 March 2006: Response to the AHRC's consultation – A strategy for supporting and sustaining high quality research in the UK's Museums, Galleries, Libraries and Archives
January 2006: Academy's response to HEFCE's review of the teaching funding method
11 January 2006: The Academy comments on HEFCE's draft strategic plan for 2006
21 October 2005: Response to the AHRC's Consultation on doctoral research in the arts and humanities
September 2005: Response to RAE 2008 Consultation on assessment panels' draft criteria and working methods
August 2005: Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution: Response to Invitation to Submit Evidence for Its Study of the Urban Environment
October 2004: Future Directions for Social Science: A response from the British Academy
June 2004: ‘That full complement of riches’: the contributions of the arts, humanities and social sciences to the nation’s wealth - a British Academy Review
June 2004: Submission to the Documentary Heritage Review of the Church Commissioners of the Church of England
June 2004: A EUROPEAN RESEARCH COUNCIL: A Response to the European Commission’s Communication on Europe and Basic Research
June 2004: The banding of Asian languages in British universities: A recommendation from the British Academy
June 2004: Response to the Government’s Consultation Paper on “Science and innovation: working towards a ten-year investment framework”
December 2002: Review of Research Assessment
April 2002: Incentives For Excellence: The British Academy's position paper on Graduate Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences
April 2002: Response to the AHRB’s Consultation on its review of its postgraduate support arrangement
September 2001: Review of Graduate Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences
May 2001: Aerial Survey for Archaeology
January 2001: The Quality of Life in the European Union: A Social Research Agenda
December 1999: Joint study to examine implications of devolution on Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
August 1999: Illicit Trade in Antiquities
July 1999: Statement on draft EU directive on copyright.