National research evaluation and its effects on female academics’ careers in the UK.

The School of Education at The University of Edinburgh hosted Emily Yarrow from Queen Mary University on the 19th of April, and it was a well-attended seminar with lively constructive discussion

Abstract of her talk:

This research investigates gender equality issues surrounding the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014), and how these may manifest themselves in the career development and career trajectories of female academics in the UK.  The potentially harmful effects of research evaluation on academic careers, the way in which research evaluation and its outcomes are managed and experienced, and the extent to which this may intensify academic work are all considered as well as being integral aspects of the interview guides. However, this research also explores, through some of the emergent themes from the interviews, how research evaluation and its outcomes may be used as a vehicle for success by some academics. Through exploring new managerialism, gendered academic career trajectories and research evaluation through a feminist lens, this research compares and contrasts different Schools in Humanities and Social Sciences in an anonymous UK university, in order to provide contemporary insight into the lived experiences of female academics in the context of REF2014. A key theme in the reviewed literature is the importance of transparency and accountability in recruitment and selection processes. The notion that research evaluation is damaging for gender equality in the academy is explored to an extent in the literature, but this research further argues that the ability to negotiate managerial control and being politically savvy is increasingly important in academia in the UK. Currently, aspects of the preliminary findings also point toward elements of the above, though at this stage the analysis is in it’s infancy. This study is influenced, in part, by the works of Acker (2006), Bagilhole and Goode (2001), Deem (1998), Halsey (1982), Van den Brink and Benschop (2011), Willmott (1995) and Wilson (1991), as well as the current socio-political academic environment in the UK. A case study approach, comprising of 80 qualitative interviews in different Schools in Humanities and Social Sciences in an anonymous UK university has been adopted. The sample covers a range of female academics from Early Career Researchers to Professors, a range of ages and experiences, as well as Key Respondents which include Heads of School, Research Directors and REF Managers.

More about Emily Yarrow here.

You can follow her on twitter here.