conundrum re: my age and a masters


Yeah, it's like the charts, or the hit parade for our older readers. Your favourite can go down as well as up...


yes, i hope my future department doesn't go down in the rankings, that would really suck.


can't post the link but if you go to postgrad funding on the ESRC page and click on 1+3 studentship competition, it takes you to the lists.

Here are the lists of recognised places by subject and institution until 2010. This has nothing to do with the RAE (although some depts that aren't entered for the RAE, because they're less research active may decide it's then not worth their while building up a postgrad programme) but it's where the ESRC runs checks on the quality of training, supervision offered and then sets targets on PhD completion that the recognised dept has to meet. It's a lot of paperwork but if your dept has gone through it, it's a good sign that there are proper procedures in place that you can appeal to when things go wrong.


@Olivia, the RAE are probably the most objective assessment of universities in the UK. Everyone gets nervous because the rating determines how much research money each department gets for the next 7 years. If remember correctly only 8 of 70-odd law schools got a star last time.

The RAE is also used by The Times university rankings, and as you may know being in law (I think you're in law anyway?) LLM students are obsessed with the rankings.

The upshot is, come Dec/Jan, lots of hiring and firing will be done as departments adjust their budgets. I'm sure there will many nervous HoDs.


Thanks for the information Miss Spacey. So where does this research money come from? Is it grant money, or from the government, or some other source? Is there a funding allocation then based upon the RAE rating of each department? I guess I have never really thought a lot about how universities are funded...but I suppose having research money available would be a huge issue for them!


@Olivia, the main source of funding for uni's comes from The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) who distribute taxpayers money to all the universities for both teaching and research budgets. All UK universities, apart from the University of Buckingham, are publicly funded. The HEFCE works on behalf of the government. How exactly the division of public money is decided? I'm not entirely sure! But I know the RAE results play a crucial role in this allocation (...must find the exact details of this). This is why publication/research output is so important for university departments, and often quantity over quality is favoured.


The second source of funding comes from 7 Research Councils (divided by disciplines eg. ESRC or AHRC) which also distribute public money. The Councils deal purely with research and not funding for teaching. They offer individual research support rather than broad funding like the HEFCE. E.g. a small number of faculty members may apply for £100k for a two year research study, or a research centre may apply for £2 million.

Finally, research to a lesser extent is funding by charities (eg The Wellcome Trust), the European Union, the Commonwealth, the private sector etc.

It would interesting to know how the United States differs...


So, logically speaking (I'm new to this academia game), by the new year departments will have a new 7-year era of higher or lower funding ahead of them.
My dept often employs GTAs and pays their PhD tuition on top. I suppose in the new year they'll know how many of those they can afford.
This is relevant to me as my dept isn't taking on any new PhDers till Feb as half the building's currently being demolished, but it also strikes me that in Feb they'll know a lot more about their forthcoming budgets as well.