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HEFCE Director of Research visits BU

23 February 2012

David Sweeney David Sweeney, HEFCE’s Director of Research, visits BU to speak about the Research Excellence Framework.

David Sweeney from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) visited Bournemouth University yesterday to answer questions on the contentious new framework for assessing the quality of an institution’s research.

Mr Sweeney spoke about the Research Excellence Framework, or REF, which assesses societal impact, in order to provide accountability for public spending.

“It’s an opportunity to trumpet to the government, to the tax pay and to the world, more of the contribution that university research has made to society,” said Mr Sweeney. “If you believe that we’re in the game of transforming individuals by educating students and transforming society through groundbreaking research developments, then you want to do everything possible to recognise those groundbreaking developments.”

Vice-Chancellors, Heads of Research and Deans from the Universities of Plymouth, Exeter, Gloucestershire, Chichester, the Arts University College at Bournemouth, the University of the West of England, Bath spa and Southampton Solent University attended the evening.

Discussion was not restricted to the REF though, and Mr Sweeney answered questions on funding, post graduate study and a range of other issues affecting Higher Education; a sector he claimed had ‘never had it so good’.

During his visit Mr Sweeney was introduced to some of Bournemouth University’s flagship research projects, including the National Centre for Computer Animation’s simulated operating software, the archaeology project Seeing Beneath Stonehenge and the Psychology department’s eye tracking software.

Mr Sweeney commented on BU’s ‘wonderful research programme’, expressing a particular interest in the extensive work on fish and bird ecology.

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