Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

From RAE to REF: Trust and Atmosphere in UK Higher Education Reform
Dr Kuang-Hsu Chiang

This analytical paper aims to examine trust and research atmosphere in higher education in the case of UK. It takes an economics perspective and draws on a conceptual framework developed by Hallén and Sandström (1991). It argues that the current Higher Education reform risks making the research atmosphere move from ‘trustful’ towards ‘opportunist’. The UK government has recently taken a new turn with regard to its research and funding policies for universities: changing from a supply to a demand model, with an emphasis on research impacts. Initiatives, such as Research Excellence Framework (REF), can have adverse effects on trust and research atmosphere in higher education. Without trust, the integrity of scientific enquiry in higher education is undermined. This paper therefore investigates the detrimental impacts of such turn of research and funding policies on higher education. A call is made for real politics in higher education.

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