The latest proposal by the higher education funding councils is for 25% of the new Research Excellence Framework (REF) to be assessed according to 'economic and social impact'. As academics, researchers and higher education professionals we believe that it is counterproductive to make funding for the best research conditional on its perceived economic and social benefits.
Universities must continue to be spaces in which the spirit of adventure thrives and where researchers enjoy academic freedom to push back the boundaries of knowledge in their disciplines.
We, therefore, call on the UK funding councils to withdraw the current REF proposals and to work with academics and researchers on creating a funding regime which supports and fosters basic research in our universities and colleges rather than discourages it.We are asking every member in higher education to sign this statement to ensure that HEFCE hear the voice of the profession. You can sign here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/standupforresearch