A column written by Frederic S. Lee. Published in Global Labour Column, October 2, 2013
In 1986, the United Kingdom instituted an exercise through which the allocation of state research funds to universities and their departments was based on the quality of the research they produced. While the official justification for the exercise was the need to be selective in the allocation of limited research funds, the non-talked about agenda behind the exercise was to reduce the number of research universities to a manageable number and to ensure that these elite universities conducted research and carried out teaching that was consistent with the interests of the economic and political elite which control the state. Consequently the ensuing research selectivity exercise known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) was and is popular with the Tories, New Labour, and anybody else who believes that the State should have quasi-direct and complete control over the thinking and research activities of its citizens.