REFunding Economics is a coalition of academics and student activists, co-ordinated by the student-powered charity Rethinking Economics, that is working to improve the impact of government funding mechanisms on the discipline of economics.
Every five years or so, universities get assessed on their research performance through the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The ‘better’ their research, the more money they get, so universities take this very seriously. The REF tends to influence what universities choose to research, which academics they hire and – as a result – what they teach to students. The impact of the REF on economics is significant, and there is evidence that it has led to a narrowing of the discipline.
The REFunding Economics coalition is determined to have a positive impact on the next REF, due to take place in 2021. As a first step, they are working to get top quality diverse economists into the heart of the REF system, by nominating people to sit on the panel. They will also be lobbying all those selected for the panel, to persuade them to broaden their scope when deciding what kinds of economics counts as ‘excellent’. Further details of REFunding’s position and campaigns will be available on this page soon.
The REFunding Economics coalition will be taking every opportunity available in the next few years to influence the REF process for the better. If you are an economist, academic or student and would like to get involved with this project, please email email@example.com to join the coalition and fight for better economics research funding.