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Research ratings set to hit college funding

Colleges of education which have remained independent of universities will come under further financial pressure as a result of the research ratings published yesterday (Thursday). Their low scores will jeopardise attempts to establish a research base to raise income.

On a scale of one to five, Northern College, based in Aberdeen and Dundee, got the lowest ranking, along with Paisley University. Paisley had, however, nominated only four staff as active researchers, while Northern College claimed 87.

Northern is almost bottom of the UK table of universities and colleges. Institutions with a rating of one will get no research support from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.

St Andrew's College, whose recent financial problems were widely reported, is awarded a rating of two, based on 12.9 full time-equivalent researchers. More successful are Moray House Institute - rated 3a on 30.5 FTEs - and Strathclyde University education faculty, rated 3b on 114 staff, making it the biggest institution to be assessed. The ratings are designed to indicate a significant level of national and some international recognition of work done.

Pre-eminent in Scotland is education at Stirling University, which receives a five. The department, which undertakes initial teacher training as well as postgraduate and research work, put forward 17.5 of it staff.

Research assessment exercises are compiled by panels of academic experts, and influence the funding of research from 1997-98.

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