The relationship between teaching and research in higher education is coming under intensified scrutiny around the world. Multiple studies have failed to show that there is a beneficial relationship between the quality of teaching and the quality of research, but have also not demonstrated any negative effect. Universities regularly make choices about their priorities in pursuit of prestige and in the face of limited resources. Research outputs often overshadow teaching expertise in the criteria for academic promotion. In the UK, current policy issues, including the evolution of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the new architecture of the Higher Education and Research Act (HERA), and ongoing debates about funding and student fees make this nexus a topic which continues to attract attention.
The British Academy is therefore undertaking a project which will seek to interrogate the relationship between teaching and research to identify whether this relationship is beneficial for either of these activities and to review comparatively the relationship in policy approaches in the UK and internationally to explore opportunities and challenges in current practice. The objectives of this project are:
- To help stimulate a wide-ranging debate among the academic community about an important trend with growing national and international significance;
- To inform the broader policy context in view of the upcoming establishment of UK Research and Innovation and the Office for Students;
- To inform the practices of universities reacting to and accommodating this trend;
- To identify the risks a potential greater polarisation between teaching and research pose for the humanities and social sciences in particular.