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The Research Quality Review: an Evaluation Exercise 2015


Thank you for visiting the RQR website. As you know, the RQR exercise will be taking place in 2014-15. Work on the review is already underway and the purpose of this website is to keep you up to date as we move through the project plan and to act as an easily accessible repository for documents. It will be developed further as and when necessary.

It is important to note that, as far as possible, the RQR will be using materials published on IRIS for the purpose of this review. It is imperative, therefore, that all staff keep their personal IRIS account updated.

Earlier in the summer some members of ACRIC and QPU met with an external, David Price. David managed the RAE for the Higher Education Funding Council, England and then managed similar, internal exercises at Cardiff University where he was Deputy Director of Strategic Planning. He is now Director of Strategy Development at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The format of the meeting was relaxed and allowed for discussion of the previous RQR at UCC, David’s views on that and on how the next exercise might be shaped. Whilst he described the review as ‘incredibly ambitious’ his vision for the outcomes of such an exercise were clear. He saw the benefits to UCC as including the following:

  • The exercise is unique to UCC and therefore has a local/national slant. However, the fact that its framework is aligned with national processes in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Hong Kong means that its results can also be aligned internationally. Some countries, for example, Oman, will only fund students to go to universities in the UK that have a particular rating in the RAE. If UCC can demonstrate that it too has carried out a review of research with comparable outcomes, there may be a positive impact on the recruitment of international students. This should provide UCC with an advantage over other Irish universities;
  • It provides the University with strategic information that is of particular use to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation;
  • The outcomes will assist in research grant applications;
  • The outcomes may also assist career progression.

Recent actions

The Steering Committee for the exercise is now in place. It will be chaired by Professor Paul Giller, Senior Vice President (Academic) and is made up of equal numbers of members of QPC and ACRIC, together with an external advisor.

A letter was recently sent to Heads of Colleges requesting the nomination of four external experts per panel from whom nominations for panel members will be sought.  The Steering Committee’s first (remote) task will be to approve the external experts to make the nominations. This will happen as soon after the closing dates for nominations (13th September 2013) as possible. The external experts will be asked to indicate which of their nominations would be appropriate to act as chair of the panel. The first meeting of the Steering Committee will be In November 2013; the main item on the agenda will be the appointment of Chairs of panels. The Chairs will then have a role in the appointment of panel members and disciplinary vice chairs.

Upcoming work

The next stage of work will be to finalise the Guidelines for the 2014-15 RQR.

We will be updating this website regularly. If you have any queries about the RQR or suggestions regarding the website, please contact:

Fiona Crozier, Director of QPU   Ext. 3651    

Graham Allen, Chair of ACRIC     Ext. 2775    

Schedule 2014-15


We envisage the following schedule will need to be closely adhered to in order to have completed the RQREE process in early 2015. The schedule will continue to be updated and detail added as we move through the stages of the review.

  • 2013
    • May 2013 Proposal on the operation of the review approved by QPC
    • UMT(O) scrutiny of proposal
    • Chair of ACRIC brings revisions to document back to AC June 2013 meeting

July to December 2013:

Units to be agreed

        August  2013: recommendations sought for external experts sought from units;

September 2013:  External experts nominated, approved by Steering Committee and contacted.

                Steering Committee approves electronically in September

Long list of Reviewers, including indications of possible Chairs, to be provided by external experts;

Long list of reviewers to be sent to Units for declaration of conflicts of interest;

November 2013: nominations for reviewers agreed by units (any conflicts of interest noted and acted upon) and signed off by Steering Committee. Chairs approved by Steering Committee. Guidelines for exercise approved by Steering Committee.

Steering Committee meeting in November.

November 2013:  Chairs of panels approached/appointed.

December 2013: Panel Chairs are sent the long list of panel members.

December 2013/January 2014: Chairs send back their views on panel members and disciplinary vice chairs.



January 2014: Views of chairs on panel members and disciplinary vice chairs are approved by the Steering Committee and are approached and appointed.

                                Steering Committee meeting in January.

  • September 2014  Census of Units, Review Panels and staff
  • October/November 2014  Meeting in UCC of Review Panel Chairs with Steering Committee
  • 31st December 2014  End of period under review
  • 31st December 2014  Completion and Submission of Research Statement
  • 2015
    • 31st January  2015  Submission of electronic and hardcopy items for review
    • 31st January 2015 Submission of data appendix, derived from UCC records, finance, data warehouse, etc.
    • March/April 2015  Evaluations Completed
    • May/July 2015   Chairs of Review Panels visit UCC for meeting with REE Steering Committee and Disciplinary Vice-Chairs (along with HoCs, ACRIC)
    • September 2015 Release of REE Outcomes, including ORE and Review Panel Reports


Downloadable version here: Schedule 2014-15

Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently asked questions


Q: How many reviewers will be in each panel?

A: Each panel will have a Chair and between 2 and 6 disciplinary vice chairs. There will be approximately 2 remote panel members for every 10 members of submitted staff. All members of staff who have submitted five pieces of research will be included in this formula, including those on a fractional appointment. The remote reviewers will review the research submissions and will review materials considered under the other Research Activity Indicators (RAIs). They will also have access to the 5000 word research submission for the relevant unit.


Q: My research is located across two panels or in both an academic unit and a Research Institute/Centre/Unit but I am only allowed to submit once. Will there be a process of cross-referral between panels?

A: Cross-referral will be carried out at the level of the chairs. At an appropriate point, each College will be asked to identify any areas where cross-referral will be necessary in any of its units. This will be early in the academic year 2014-15 in order that the Chairs might be briefed on this matter at their site visits to UCC in October/November 2014. Chairs will have electronic access to submissions and reports for those whose research spans two panels or two units.


Q: How will the impact of the research carried out in my unit be assessed?

A: In completing submissions for RAI 1, each member of staff will have the opportunity to complete a template explaining the significance and impact of the five chosen items. Panels will review all submissions taking disciplinary norms into account. Each unit will also submit a 5,000 word statement on the research carried out in that area. The impact of the research may be addressed in that statement.


Q: How is the financial data (grants etc) being gathered?

A: Research grant income at unit level can be generated directly from the Agresso financial database – this metric will form part of the RAI6 return for a unit.

Where a researcher is the named (lead) PI for an award, this information is fed directly into their IRIS profile from Agresso.

If the researcher is not linked to the award on the Agresso database (e.g. they are a co-PI), their association with the grant can be recorded manually by the researcher in the ‘Grants’ section of their IRIS profile.

So a researcher’s grant income information can be included in two ways:

a)    Combined with the unit-level return (from Agresso) as part of RAI6 and/or

b)    Included as part of the researcher’s peer RAI3 (peer esteem) return.


Q: Will there be any further guidance on how to decide whether or not to include category B staff?

A: The choice as to whether or not to include members of staff who fall into category B is left to the individual units. Chairs will be briefed on each of the categories of staff at their first site visit to UCC in October/December 2014. This site visit will also include a briefing at College level for the relevant Chairs and Colleges may wish to include a more specific briefing on the inclusion or otherwise of category B staff at that point.


Q: Will there be any guidelines on how to select the five pieces of research submitted?

A: There will be no specific guidance on this matter as different disciplines will approach the matter in different ways. However, each member of staff will have the opportunity to complete a short template explaining the significance and impact of the five chosen items. Reviewers will take disciplinary norms into account.

Quality Enhancement Unit

Aonad Feabhsaithe Cáilíochta

6 Carrigside, College Road