Frequently Asked Questions

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 should we address impact in our research statement?

A. No single definition of impact has been provided for the exercise. This is in order to facilitate units in addressing the impact of research in their research statements as they see fit, based on the most appropriate definitions and measures of impact for the relevant discipline. Outreach and impact beyond research impact do not form part of this review.


Q: We would prefer to write the 5k word research statement at School rather than at discipline level. Is that possible?

A. Disciplinary vice chairs have been recruited at unit level (see list of panels). They will, therefore, need to have information at the unit level in order to carry out their review effectively. Schools can submit a consolidated research statement as part of each 5,000 word statement if they so wish, with a specialist section for each unit of assessment to ensure sufficient information for each Disciplinary Vice Chair.


Q: I need to submit my research in hard copy. What is the process for this?

A. The intention is that submission of research will be electronic. However, if a piece of research must be submitted in hard copy, then the following process will apply:

The Colleges have agreed to take responsibility and will support units in ensuring that copies are sent securely. The QPU will provide the contact details of the reviewers, on request and will note how many publications are being sent by which member of staff to which reviewers. The College will be responsible for sending the publications by secure methods and for their return and should consider putting aside a small budget for this purpose.


Q: Will there be any independent evaluation of the RQR?

A. External advice on the process was sought in the early stages of development (summer 2013). Professor Sir Drummond Bone has agreed to be an external member of the Steering Committee with the following particular brief:

  • To input into the further development of the review;
  • To provide independent oversight of the process;
  • To act as independent ombudsman where necessary;
  • To evaluate the recommendations produced by the review that are addressed to the University and
  • To provide, in collaboration with the chairs, an overall evaluation of the review.


Q: How were reviewers appointed to the panels?

A. The selection and appointment process for Chairs, Vice Chairs and remote reviewers has been based on ensuring as far as possible independence and appropriate expertise. This is supported by adherence to the UCC Conflict of Interest policy.

In the first instance, all units were required to provide the names of external experts who, in turn, provided a list of nominations. Within that list the experts indicated which nominations, in their view, would be suitable as Chairs and Disciplinary Vice Chairs (DVCs). The Steering Committee reviewed these and sought additional information as appropriate before approving them.

Due to natural attrition (nominations had retired, moved or declined the invitation to participate), there was a need to supplement the list of nominations provided by the externals. As we Chairs and DVCs were appointed, they were asked to help identify remote reviewers. The process of receiving nominations, inviting them, waiting for responses and answering questions is a slow one and, in some cases, results in a negative response.

In addition, in June this year, all units were given the opportunity to provide further nominations for remote reviewers (again governed by the Conflict of Interest policy) . In addition, those who refused an invitation to be a reviewer were asked to nominate some potential reviewers and the Steering Committee agreed that the Quality Promotion Unit could source reviewers by searching Russell Group universities, for example, and compiling a list of names. Where either of these options have been used, the names of all potential reviewers have been sent to the unit for a conflict of interest check.


Q: Can a non-academic member of staff make a submission to the RQR?

A. No, only academic members of staff can submit research. However, a non-academic member of staff who researches and who contributes to the research environment of the unit should be referred to in the 5000 word research statement.


Q: I have received the central data from Graduate Studies but the my list of PhD students is inaccurate. How can I correct it?

A. The Graduate Studies Office will update supervisor/co-supervisor information when requested. Individual academics will need to contact GSO to request changes if the postgraduate students listed in their IRIS is incorrect.


Q: Can a PhD thesis be submitted as a publication?

A. A PhD thesis can form part of an individual’s submission if it is within the norms for that discipline. If this is the case, it should be clear in the cover note for the particular piece of work that it is a PhD thesis.


Q: Do I have to append a separate 100 word explanation to each of my submissions or can I just submit one cover sheet that includes the introductions to all my submissions?

A. You can do either. If it is easier for you to compile all your coversheets into one document that's fine.

Updated: 20 January 2015

Quality Enhancement Unit

Main Campus, Room 2.18, West Wing, UCC