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Kingston University professors appointed to prestigious positions as Research Excellence Framework sub-panel chairs

Posted Thursday 7 December 2017

Kingston University professors appointed to prestigious positions as Research Excellence Framework sub-panel chairs

Two senior Kingston University academics have been appointed as sub-panel chairs for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) - the national system for assessing the quality of research in universities and higher education colleges across the United Kingdom.

Newly-announced Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Business and Innovation Professor Anne Boddington, currently Pro Vice-Chancellor for Cultural Engagement and Dean of Kingston School of Art, and the Associate Dean for Research at Kingston Business School, Professor Robert Blackburn, were among the 34 eminent experts selected for the highly regarded positions. Each will play a leading role in shaping assessment criteria for submissions to the next REF in 2021 and ensuring consistency in applying those standards.

Professor Boddington, who was appointed as chair of the sub-panel for art and design: history, practice and theory, said it would be vital to work with colleagues across the sector to demonstrate the quality and value of its research. "Research is integral to what  we do as a university and plays a vital role in delivering excellent teaching and learning. It also has a wide impact beyond academia," she said. "Researchers are at the forefront of driving change in society and developing creative and collaborative responses to today's challenges.

"Being selected to chair the sub-panel that will shape the criteria for assessing the quality of art and design research submissions for REF 2021 is a great honour and offers an opportunity to showcase the importance of interdisciplinary research collaboration in enhancing impact."

Professor Blackburn, director of the University's Small Business Research Centre, will chair the business and management studies sub-panel. "The field of business and management, its theory, practice and impact, is constantly evolving. Research plays a key role in analysing and shaping this area of human endeavour," he said.

"As sub-panel chair, I am looking forward to developing an assessment framework that recognises both the quality and breadth of research in all its forms, which can help to build a relevant and visible evidence base that can affect change and support an environment in which research and enterprise can thrive."

The appointments were made by the country's four higher education funding bodies - the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE) - following an open application process. The first task Professor Boddington and Professor Blackburn will undertake as sub-panel chairs will be to select panel members to support their sectors and refine the criteria.

REF Manager Dr Kim Hackett praised the calibre of applicants for the positions. "We have had an excellent response to our call for applications to the role of sub-panel chair, which has enabled the funding bodies to appoint an exceptional set of individuals to these key positions," Dr Hackett said. "We are also delighted to have achieved a good balance across types of institution and geographical regions with these appointments. The sub-panel chairs now have a key task ahead in recommending panel members and I look forward to working with them on this task."

The REF is a major exercise undertaken by the four higher education funding bodies in the United Kingdom. The first REF was conducted in 2014, replacing the former Research Assessment Exercise. The results drive the allocation of public funding for research.

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