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Report of the General Board on the Faculty of Economics and Politics and the Department of Applied Economics

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

Introduction

1. At present the Faculty of Economics and Politics consists of the Faculty itself, which includes the University Teaching Officers in Economics, and the separate Department of Applied Economics (DAE), which has its own programme of externally funded research, research and support staff, and a separate allocation from the University Education Fund (UEF). The arrangements for the Department were last reviewed by the General Board in 1984-85, pending the completion of Professor Godley's tenure as Director of the Department (Reporter, 1986-87, p. 522). That review led to changes in the managerial arrangements for the Department, and, in particular, the establishment of a single-tenure Professorship of Applied Economics, tenable concurrently with the Directorship for a maximum period of 15 years. Professor D. M. G. Newbery's tenure of the Directorship, under that arrangement, expired on 30 September 2003.

Review Committee

2. In anticipation of the end of Professor Newbery's tenure as Director and as part of their normal programme of Faculty and Departmental Reviews in 2001, the General Board constituted a Review Committee with the following terms of reference:

To consider matters relating to the organization, scope, funding, recruitment, and academic establishment of the Faculty of Economics and Politics and the Department of Applied Economics, including consideration of:

(a) factors influencing the ability of the Faculty and Department to pursue research of international standing;
(b) the resources available to the Faculty and the Department;
(c) the contribution of the Department of Applied Economics to the Faculty's teaching programme, and the Faculty's contribution to the Department's research;
(d) the employment policy of the Department of Applied Economics, relating to staff at all levels, looking at issues of recruitment, retention, and reward;
(e) the inter-relationship between the Faculty and the Department;
(f) the future development of the work of the Faculty and the Department; and
(g) the relationship of the Faculty, including the Department, with other cognate bodies, and the extent to which the current structure facilitates interdisciplinary research.

3. The members of the Review Committee were:

Dr Kate Pretty (Chairman)

Professor John Bell, Faculty of Law

Professor Richard Smith, Department of Geography

Professor John Sutton, London School of Economics and Political Science

Secretary: Mrs Peta Stevens

The Committee received written submissions from the Faculty Board of Economics and Politics, and the Director of the Department. They also visited the Faculty and interviewed a wide range of the senior members of the Faculty, staff of the Department, and students.

Conclusions of the Review Committee

4. The Review Committee reported to the General Board in the Easter Term 2003. In their Report, the Committee paid tribute to Professor Newbery as an outstanding Director who had done much for the DAE. However, they also concluded that urgent attention should be given to the following matters:

(i) measures to enable the Faculty and Department to pursue research which meets overall the criteria for international excellence;
(ii) establishing the appropriate structure for the Faculty and the Department of Applied Economics in the context of both University requirements and the general difficulties confronting economics as an academic subject, including issues relating to the recruitment and retention of staff.

They noted that the Faculty's ratings in recent Research Assessment Exercises (1992: 5, 1996: 5, 2001: 5) showed scope for improvement. In addition, the Review Committee reported their impression that the relationship between the two institutions was not working as well as it should. In the light of their further consideration of the report, and comments from the Faculty Board and Department and the Council of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the General Board now make proposals for the future structure of the Faculty and the organization of the research within it.

Proposals

5. The General Board recognize that the existence of a separate research arm of the Faculty has had significant positive features: senior academic leadership charged with promoting research in the Faculty: good support for research grant applications and administration: and a devolved ring-fenced budget that can be deployed flexibly. These structures have, it was represented, served the Faculty well, through work such as the Risk Project, a long-standing collaboration between the Faculty and the DAE, which has produced high-impact research of international excellence. The Board are concerned that, notwithstanding such examples of excellence and evidence of current collaboration between the Faculty and the DAE, the existence of a Department with a focus on research in applied economics, and operating separately from the main Faculty, does not facilitate the development of an integrated research programme, encompassing the full range of a modern economics department, and aspiring to the highest standards of excellence.

6. Furthermore, the separation of the two institutions puts the Faculty Board in a weak position in supervising the Faculty's research activities in fulfilment of its statutory duties. The General Board consider that further structural clarity is needed, to help the Faculty in making the adjustment to the RAM and to ensure that the envelope of resources currently available separately to the Faculty and the Department is used optimally to the benefit of the Faculty as a whole, in support of a properly coordinated Faculty-wide programme of research and to enable the Faculty Board properly to discharge its responsibilities in respect of research, as well as those for undergraduate and graduate education. The Board, accordingly, propose the abolition of the DAE as a separate entity, and the full integration of its remaining activities within the larger Faculty. The Faculty Board would, as provided in Statute C, IV, be responsible for the oversight and quality of all of the Faculty's research and educational activities: these responsibilities would be underpinned by three key committees, the Teaching Committee (for undergraduate teaching), the Degree Committee (for Graduate education and training), and a newly constituted Research Committee.

7. The Board also propose that the title of the Faculty be changed to Faculty of Economics, in order to reflect more accurately the breadth of the teaching and research interests that would be represented in the integrated Faculty.

8. Following consultation with the Faculty Board of Economics and Politics, the General Board propose the establishment of a new office of Executive Director of Research to provide support for the Faculty's research programme. The main role of the Director would be the facilitation of research initiatives and established research programmes, including the day-to-day management of the research activity and support staff, in conjunction with an Administrative Officer. The Director would report to the Faculty Board through the Research Committee. The Director would be an ex officio member of the Faculty Board and would be responsible for implementation of the strategies proposed by the Research Committee and approved by the Faculty Board. The Director would play a proactive role, together with the Chairman of the Research Committee, in driving the work of the Research Committee. He or she would also be expected to conduct research in his or her own right.

9. Subject to the approval of the recommendations of the Report, the General Board have agreed that Dr Sean Holly, currently Deputy Director of the DAE and Acting Director, until 30 September 2005, should be appointed as first holder of the Executive Directorship. Provision is made under the regulations for the office for subsequent appointments to be made concurrently with another University office, on terms to be determined by the Board.

10. The separate offices of Senior Research Officer, Research Officer, and Junior Research Officer in the Department would be abolished; the remaining research, administrative, and assistant staff of the DAE will be assimilated into the Faculty on terms equivalent to those of their current posts. Under the new arrangements the separate allocation of UEF recurrent funding to the DAE would cease; the unified Faculty would receive a single recurrent allocation from the General Board, through the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Although the Board expect that in due course the Faculty Board should determine the deployment of the whole of that sum between offices, posts, and non-pay costs, the Board have agreed, after consultation with the Council of the School that an amount should be earmarked for two years for the support of research. Such dedicated support is necessary, both to strengthen the Faculty's research profile and to provide some flexibility to foster promising young researchers in the Faculty. The Department's substantial accumulated reserves would also be available for deployment at the discretion of the Faculty Board, subject to meeting any outstanding commitments entered into by the Department.

11. The General Board recommend:

I. That, with effect from 1 October 2004, the Faculty of Economics and Politics be re-titled the Faculty of Economics, that the Department of Applied Economics be suppressed, and that the existing functions of the Department be integrated with the Faculty of Economics.

II. That, subject to the approval of recommendation I, the Professorship of Applied Economics be reassigned to the Faculty of Economics for the remainder of Professor Newbery's tenure.

III. That, subject to the approval of recommendation I, the office of Executive Director of Research in the Faculty of Economics be established, governed by the regulations in the Schedule to this Report and placed in Schedules B and J of the Statutes.

IV. That the regulations for the constitution of Faculty Boards (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 545) be amended as follows.

SCHEDULE II (Offices (other than Professorships) specified in Schedule B of the Statutes which qualify their holders for membership in category (ii) of class (a) of particular Faculty Boards)

By replacing 'Directorship of the Department of Applied Economics' by 'Executive Directorship of Research in the Faculty of Economics'.

14 July 2004ALISON RICHARD, Vice-ChancellorH. A. CHASED. W. B. MACDONALD
 JOHN BELLM. J. DAUNTONMELVEENA MCKENDRICK
 TOM BLUNDELLPETER LANDSHOFFKEITH PETERS
 WILLIAM BROWNDREW LIVINGSTONS. J. YOUNG
 N. O. A. BULLOCK  

SCHEDULE

Faculty of Economics

Executive Director of Research

1. There shall be an office of Executive Director of Research in the Faculty of Economics, which may be held on such terms and conditions as the General Board shall determine. The office may be tenable concurrently with another University office.

2. Appointments and reappointments to the University office of Director shall be made by the Appointments Committee for the Faculty of Economics and two persons appointed by the General Board for the particular occasion.

3. The duties of the Director shall be to advance knowledge and to promote and direct research in Economics, to give instruction to students, and to facilitate the research of University officers in the Faculty, subject to the powers of the Faculty Board of Economics. Such teaching as the Director may give on behalf of the University, including the supervision of Graduate Students, shall be given without additional remuneration as part of the duties of the office.

4. The Director shall conform to such conditions of residence as may be determined by the Board with the approval of the General Board.

5. The Director shall not be a Tutor, Assistant Tutor, Bursar, Assistant Bursar, or Steward of a College.


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Cambridge University Reporter 21 July 2004
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.