Research and rationalisation
in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90

If the price of liberty had always been constant vigilance, it seemed that the price of survival in the late 1980s was constant surveillance and the price of efficiency constant competition and the publication of results. In return for their employment, academics must now submit to scrutiny, designed in part to establish whether or not they were giving value for money, and in part to identify strengths and weaknesses. Concern with the Research Selectivity Exercises threatened, as time passed, to become obsessive. ‘Publish or your department perishes’ became a nagging admonition, impossible to ignore. However, the improvement of research performance was a legitimate goal. The reorganisation of biological sciences demonstrated the University's ability to reform itself; it provided a model and a precedent for the refashioning of groups of departments into schools in other parts of the University.

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