Belfast AUT Newsletter Issue no. 14- December 2002
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There was great relief in Queen's when the Northern Ireland budget was announced on 11 December. As explained in previous Newsletters, the draft budget had omitted the funding that we had earned as a result of the improved RAE results, and also our share of various research initiatives announced for England. After a vigorous campaign by AUT and the two universities, the draft budget has been modified and we are now back to about the financial position that we thought we were in in September. Our thanks to all our members who made an effort.

The budget now contains £10M recurrent funds for each of the next three years to be shared between the two universities. (The non-recurrent money scraped together in the dying moments of the assembly is included in these funds.) This money is to fund the improved results in the RAE, to pay for aspects of the Robert's Review such as improved stipends for research students, and to improve knowledge transfer to business and industry. QUB expects to get at least £6M p.a. of this. This compares with the £6.5M to £7M that QUB management reckon we should have got for the improved RAE ratings. However it is better than the £2.5M p.a. that had been built into the new Academic Plan. So not only can the Academic Plan go ahead, but we may be able to fund some other strategic priorities as well.

This recurrent funding is comparable to the DEL bids for: £26M to fund the improved results of the 2001 RAE between 2003/04 and 2005/06; and £10M to facilitate links with business and the community to improve the knowledge base and economic competitiveness. However there is nothing corresponding to the DEL bid for £29M over three years to address the baseline funding gap between NI and GB of £10M p.a. So the problem of less per capita spending on research compared to the rest of the UK remains a battle to be won. That will require a sustained effort.
Also included in the budget is £25M for university infrastructure. Little is known about this except that it will be spread over the years as £5M, £10M and £10M. QUB expects to get slightly more than half of the money, and it should help us continue our building program which was in danger of grinding to a halt through lack of funds.

Also included in the budget is £21.1M for student support, so the improved research funding has not been at the expense of the students.
Although we have we have virtually recovered our funding position, there are lessons to be drawn from the campaign. Obviously Northern Ireland politicians do not attach as much importance to universities and research as we think that we deserve. We must embark on a long term program of educating the public and the politicians about the benefits that universities bring to the community - and we must see that we actually deliver on our claims. The Northern Ireland political parties have rudimentary policies on Higher Education, if any. We must seek to the development of these policies. AUT will be offering each of the parties a "buddy" This will be an experienced AUT officer whom they can contact whenever they wish to know anything about Higher Education. The campaign has also unearthed previously unknown friends of universities in business and enterprise, and we must cultivate these. AUT will be meeting regionally to discuss the campaign and I will be pressing for more national AUT resources to support these developments and to monitor the Northern Ireland government.

go to topcontents go to previous sectionprevious go to next sectionnext QUB Finances

The audited accounts for the year ending 31 July 2002 were presented to December Senate. On a turnover of about £159M we had a surplus of £67K. Income increased by £11.4M or 7.7%. Recurrent grants rose by £2.728M of which £1.520M was due to the funding of extra student places. This year there was no government imposed "efficiency gain", but we were still suffering the effects of a 6% real cut in teaching resource over a 3-year period. Income from research grants and contracts increased by £1.2M or 4.8%. The contribution from research to indirect costs increased to £2.6M and, at just under 10%, remained well below the sector average.

The surplus would have been much larger but for the money set aside for restructuring costs such as early retirements. The provision for restructuring (£2.366M) greatly exceeded the expenditure (£278K) and £2.312M remained in that kitty at year end.

The increase in expenditure was £10.9M or 7.3%. 63% of expenditure was on staff costs. The drop in the stock market knocked more than £4M off our endowments and virtually wiped out our investment reserves. So despite an increase in tangible assets of £7.784M, QUB's Total net assets decreased £2.157M to £102.534M

Senate also approved revised estimates for the current financial year which were calculated in November. In June a deficit of £6.054M had been forecast for 2002-03. In order to achieve a break-even position, savings of £6.054M were required from the academic and academic support sectors as set out in the 2002-03 Resource Allocation Model. The deficit has now been revised down to £51K. DEL has set the Maximum Aggregate Student Numbers (MASN) for 2002-03 at 10,380 with a margin of error of just 52. QUB has exceeded the MASN by about 100, but the size of the incurred financial penalty has not been announced.

go to topcontents go to previous sectionprevious go to next sectionnext Pay at Queen's

It is always interesting to see how others fare, and the accounts summarise staff with remuneration above £50k excluding employer's pension contributions, but including NHS merit payments.

  93/4 94/5 95/6 96/7 97/8 98/9 99/00 00/01 01/02
£50,001 - £60,000 33 37 37 58 40 42 31 35 60
£60,001 - £70,000 15 16 14 22 25 20 42 37 46
£70,001 - £80,000 14 10 11 13 8 10 16 20 25
£80,001 - £90,000 6 6 4 1 7 12 9 6 14
£90,001 - £100,000 5 3 6 6 5 1 3 11 10
£100,001 - £110,000 1 3 5 5 3 5 6 7 4
£110,001 - £120,000 0 0 0 1 3 3 0 1 4
£120,001 - £130,000       1 2 2 2   5
£130,001 - £140,000             1 1 2
£140,001 - £150,000           1 1 1  
£150,001 - £160,000                 1
Total 74 75 77 107 93 96 111 119 171

On 1 March 2002 the non-clinical Senior Lecturer (and academic related grade 5) scale maximum rose to £38,603, and even with the maximum discretionary points it was only £41,732. So the people in the table can only be professors, clinical academics and senior administrators. Due to the new non-clinical professorial salary scheme and associated back pay, some of the ordinary non-clinical professors now appear in the lower ranges of this table. But the higher ranges are mainly professors holding a major office, senior administrators (such as Directors) and clinical academics.

In case you have not heard from the fire-fighters, the Vice-Chancellor's emoluments (excluding pension contributions) were £159K, up 6.2% on the previous year. From the reports of the Remuneration Committee we can deduce that the pay of Pro-V-C's, Deans and administrative Directors were increased on average by the same percentage. When this was queried at Senate earlier this year it was explained that they did not enjoy the benefit of increments! Management often make a great fuss about the affects of increments, discretionary pay and grade drift on the pay bill. The total gross salaries and wages in QUB increased 6.7% to £83.419M. But this reduces to 5.6% when you allow for the increase in total staff. More of this 5.6% can be explained by the change in the mix of staff. Academics have increased from 863 to 912, administration from 289 from 304, and research staff from 423 to 447, while technical staff have dropped from 490 to 423 and other staff increased marginally from 1330 to 1339.

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Academic Promotions and Discretionary Pay

Although the names have not been announced, the bulk of the outcomes of the 2001-2 exercise are known. (Payment was back-dated to 1 October 2001.) 21 people appealed adverse promotion recommendations at earlier stages, and 3 were eventually successful. However there have been some more appeals since, and so there may be a couple of individuals to add to this data There was considerable variation in the success rate between Faculties:

Faculty Professor Reader Senior Lecturer Snr. Teaching Fellow
Success Not Success Not Success Not Success Not
Science & Agriculture 1 3 3 1 8 2 1 1
Medicine & Health Sci 2 4 2 4 5 2 0 0
Humanities 4 2 2 0 4 2 0 0
Engineering 3 3 1 1 3 6 0 0
L.S.E.S. 2 7 4 2 4 8 2 0
Totals 12 19 12 8 24 20 3 1

No explanation has been offered for the difference in success rates, which is close to being statistically significant. However, if a similar pattern emerges in the new round, there will be questions to be answered.

The figures for discretionary payments exclude people who were promoted instead. The differences between faculties were even more marked:

Faculty Put Forward Only For Discretionary Pay Discretionary Payments Made Instead of Promotion
2 1 0
Science & Agriculture 8 2 4 2 1
Medicine & Health Sci 5 0 3 2 2
Humanities 20 4 8 8 0
Engineering 21 2 8 11 4
L.S.E.S. 24 3 12 9 3
Totals 78 11 35 32 10
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Research Misconduct

QUB is in the final stages of introducing a code on research misconduct and a procedure to deal with it. This is a necessary condition for the University to continue to be eligible to receive grants from the Wellcome Trust and most Research Councils. It is an interesting comment on what may be the driving force behind some sorts of research misconduct that the Research Councils have insisted that the reporting and investigation of alleged misconduct be independent of line management. There will be a Research Governance Officer whom you should approach if you have a suspicion of research misconduct. He/she will organise an investigation. If necessary the report could be used in a disciplinary procedure.

Investigation will be carried out by a panel of three QUB staff with relevant experience, and outside experts can be brought in if needed. There will soon be a call for experienced QUB researchers to volunteer to form a pool of assessors from which an Investigation Panel can be drawn.
Research misconduct does not cover just the falsification of results and sloppy or dangerous techniques, and there is a long list of potential faults. These include not giving someone proper credit for their contribution to the research, and also adding to the list of authors someone who has not made a real contribution. Anybody who incites others to commit research misconduct is also covered.

The document provoke considerable comment at Academic Council, and AUT has also made detailed criticisms. At present the document gives the impression that a disciplinary charge is the most likely outcome of a complaint. Many problems in this area are of the nature of a disagreement between professionals and, as such, should be resolved informally by discussion or arbitration. So we want this aspect of the procedure brought to the fore.

However, members have in the past told us of what would now be classified as serious research misconduct. If you have been put under pressure to commit research misconduct, e.g. in the field of authorship, or have been the victim of it, you should approach an AUT Officer.

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Contract Research Staff

Besides the new protections for fixed-term staff described in the last Newsletter, contract research staff have other rights under the Concordat which was signed between the CVCP and all the major Research Councils. It promises: "...rewards and other terms and conditions of service for contract research staff (for example, rates of pay, provisions for leave and sick leave, pensions, access to facilities) which are in line with those for established staff ..." Also: "Maternity leave and pay provisions for contract staff should be in line with the provisions for established staff " There is also a promise of extra grant payments to cover the cost of maternity leave or of sick leave in excess of 3 months.

The Concordat was the inspiration for QUB's "Code of Practice for the Employment of Contract Research staff". Every member of contract research staff should have a copy as it sets out their main conditions of employment. It applies to all such staff employed by Queen's irrespective of the source of funding. It incorporates national agreement with AUT e.g. that nobody should normally spend more than three years on grade 1B, and anyone with a PhD should be appointed to at least grade 1A.

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Specialist Group Meetings

We have already announced local meetings for specialist groups of members

Each of these is at 1 p.m. in Old Staff Common Room, Lanyon West.

We have also announced an open meeting for all staff employed on fixed-term contracts on 8 January at 1 p.m. in Old Staff Common Room, Lanyon West.

In addition there will be meetings at lunch time 1.00 pm for:


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Meeting for Women Members

There will be a meeting for Women Members 1 p.m. on Wednesday 22 January 2003 in Old Staff Common Room, Lanyon West.

Last year this local meeting was inquorate, so do not miss the opportunity this time. One purpose of the meeting is to discuss any problems specific to women members. The other purpose is to elect AUT members to attend the national AUT meeting of Women Members on Thursday 6 March in London, and to decide if we wish to send any motions to that meeting.

Also the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (NIC-ICTU) is organising "Women and Leadership" course for women who wish to improve their leadership role at work or in their trade-union. The course runs over eight Friday afternoons. Anyone interested should contact Susan Harte (ext 3800)

Susan Harte, Lifelong Learning

© 2002 Belfast Association of University Teachers
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