Lobbying by LSE on the value of social sciences appears to have paid dividends for the future quality assessment of university research.
The School made recommendations to the UK's Funding Councils and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) on the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) panel configuration. The final panel configuration, announced by the Funding Councils on 15 July, has seen nearly all of the School's recommendations realised.
The recommendations went forward following a widespread consultation across the School, headed by Professor Henrietta Moore and Gus Stewart and Jo Hemmings of the Research and Project Development Division. They argued for a more logical grouping of the social science units of assessment in the 2008 RAE.
The final panel configuration has resulted in the following:
Law and the Politics and International Studies units of assessment being removed from the Economics, Accounting and Finance and Business and Management main panel and being placed within a more appropriate main panel alongside Social Policy, Sociology, Anthropology and Development Studies.
Separate units of assessment for Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Operational Research.
Geography and Environmental Studies to remain within the main panel incorporating Architecture and the Built Environment, Town and Country Planning and Archaeology.
Cross-referrals between sub-panels for the assessment of interdisciplinary research will now be permitted.
The Funding Councils are now seeking nominations for panel and sub-panel members, with a closing date for nominations of 15 September 2004.
Professor Henrietta Moore said: 'It is crucial that the importance of social sciences is fully recognised in this national assessment of university research. As a specialist institution, the School felt strongly that it should be a guardian of the social sciences and make strong recommendations for the way quality research would be judged by peer groups. We are pleased that many of our ideas have been adopted.'
A full copy of the panel configuration and the recruitment of panel members can be found on the RAE website: http://www.rae.ac.uk/
19 July 2004