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Your point about the REF reinforcing the Russell Group is well made and timely. The Russell Group is a self-selecting group of soi-disant elite, research-intensive HEIs. They are likely to continue awarding research projects to academics that fit their own image and, as Russell Group members move into Research Councils, for example, their presence will intensify the process.
I've recently taken part in a selection process to dispense millions into medical research and have my doubts about the integrity and transparency of the process. So much of British academic life is conducted in secrecy with barely a nod towards accountability. REF? Quis custodiet...?

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