Desperately seeking a solution: Living with/through the RAE

Year: 2005

Author: Thomson, Pat, Noyes, Andy

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

We are a four. Not a five. We are a four in a university in which two thirds of the schools are fives or five star. We were once a five, but in 2001, we slipped. This meant that overnight the school of education lost almost £400,000 of its annual income. We hear that the RAE in 2008 might be the last one and after that there will be some kind of metrics to measure performance. We suspect that this means that this coming RAE is our last chance to get back to where we were. It's now or never. But they've changed the scales. It's a one to four range now, and nobody knows how this lines up with the old six point scale. Well that's one part of our collective identity/ies speaking. Other parts might note that we do not reject of the idea of some standards applied to research quality, that we would welcome something that put together teaching and research in ways that made sense to educators, that we support the idea that everybody in a university should research and publish. In this paper we talk about everyday life in a four rated department. We discuss the ways in which we are approaching the with/against practices of increasing our research profile and productivity in a marketised and hierarchised university system. As a recently appointed Director of Research and as an early career researcher, we have different experiences of how we survive/thrive in a performative context, attempting to fabricate new/old identities and worthwhile and credible knowledges.