There is an interesting comment from Stephen Curry on my post about the balance of dual support for research last week. He points out, correctly, that while the situation with research funding in UK universities has been relatively stable, there have recently been major perturbations on the teaching side, with in the increases in undergraduate fees. In the face of these changes, he rightly points out that it is as important to look for evidence for not altering the balance of dual funding for research as it is to look for evidence in favour of change.
The point about the interactions between teaching and research within universities is a really important one. Too often these two areas of university activity are treated separately in policy discussions, which ignores the fact that it is the same individuals that are responsible for both. As the changes to undergraduate funding bed in, we should monitor the impact they might have on research. The interactions between teaching and research as activities are also important. Too often the mutual and reinforcing benefits of teaching and research are ignored.
I also agree that we should be looking for evidence against change as much as supporting it, but I still struggle to see what that evidence would be. As I argued previously intervention seems risky, and the time it would take to measure the impact is long. There isn’t much potential to look historically because of the relative stability. If anyone has ideas about the types of evidence that might be useful I would be keen to hear about them in the comments.