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University Funding Debate Continues in England

Today's issue of Science has a story discussing the controversy surrounding last week's announcement of how a major chunk of research funding, some £1.57 billion annually, will be distributed among England's universities. In short, some of the traditional research powerhouses, such as Imperial College London and University of Cambridge, didn't do as well as officials at those places hoped, sparking complaints. That was in part because newer universities earned more money than in the past, thanks to good showings in the U.K.'s latest Research Assessment Exercise. Also, nonscience departments such as drama and media studies saw their academic research score highly too and earn boosts in funding for their institutions.

The Times Higher Education out today adds to the story with an analysis estimating just how much some of the top names will lose:

England's elite research universities have lost an average of more than £6,000 per researcher as a result of last week's funding allocations. ... The figures, which show one institution losing more than £12,000 for each full-time researcher, have led to warnings that the UK's world-leading institutions may have to reduce the amount of research they do to balance the books.

Times Higher Education also reports that the Russell Group, which represents some of the largest research universities in the United Kingdom, has stepped up its attack on the latest RAE, claiming that there were different standards used in judging scientific research and research in the arts.