Can national research assessment exercises be used locally to inform research strategy development? The description of a methodological approach to the UK RAE 2008 results with a focus on one institution
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National mechanisms for comparing the research profiles of higher education institutions (HEIs) have become increasingly common. Probably the best known of these is the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) conducted in the United Kingdom, and used as the basis for the allocation of research funding. Such exercises are expensive. They would have additional value if the data could be used by HEIs to inform the development of their research strategies. In this paper we use publicly available RAE outcome data to demonstrate this potential. We contrast the two units’ research profiles with other units of assessment within the HEI, with other like-units nationally, and finally we examine the relative performance of all the HEI’s units of assessment against their national counter-parts. Finally we discuss the kinds of insights these data may offer in the development of research strategy at the level of the institution, and at the level of the School or Department.