Message to BISA and PSA Members from Professor Charlie Jeffery, Political and International Studies REF Sub-Panel

I’m really pleased that the initial membership of the Politics and International Studies (and all the other) sub-panels for the next REF has now been published. I realise it has taken quite a while to get from when nominations were made to this point. I’m grateful to PSA, BISA and the other organisations that nominated potential members – and for their patience since.  
The process of setting up sub-panels this time has been different, with the sub-panel being put together in two phases. An initial group will meet this year in the first, criteria-setting phase to consider, recommend and put out to consultation any nuances to the general REF criteria it thinks the sub-panel might need. This group will be joined in 2020-2021 by additional panel members for the assessment phase. Some of the assessment phase members have been identified now, and others will be in 2020 to ensure full coverage across the discipline – including in areas not fully covered by the initial round of nominations – and to bring in full user expertise. 
My approach has been to bring together as big a group of criteria phase members and to identify as many assessment phase members as HEFCE would accept, so as to establish as inclusive a sub-panel as possible from the outset. A number of those selected for both the criteria-setting and assessment phases have not yet responded, so more names should be added to the list shortly. My intention is to have a sub-panel for both phases which gives a wide subject coverage across politics and international studies, draws in members spread across the UK with no more than one from any single department, includes a good mix of past and new sub-panel members, is fully gender-balanced, and includes people from different ethnic backgrounds.
Those different dimensions of inclusion are important. The stakes in the REF process are high, both for what its outcomes say about the relative strength of the discipline as a whole, and for the standing of departments in their institutions. It is vital that the sub-panel has a membership which can engage across the discipline with credibility and authority. The sub-panel also needs to be as open as possible as early as possible about how it will go about its work, not least in the consultation on criteria that will take place this autumn. That means you should see quite a bit of me and other sub-panel members in the coming months. I’m looking forward to it!
- Professor Charlie Jeffery

Professor Charlie Jeffery appointed chair for REF sub-panel

The Political Studies Association and the British International Studies Association welcomes the appointment of Professor Charlie Jeffery, senior vice-principal at the University of Edinburgh, as the chair of the sub-panel for Politics and International Studies in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework assessment exercise. Professor Jeffery is a widely respected political scientist and senior university manager with the full range of knowledge and skills necessary for this challenging role. The PSA and BISA are confident that under Professor Jeffery’s chairship the panel will be well placed to review all areas within the panel’s remit; to assess the wider impact of research in politics & international studies and to ensure that full recognition is given to considerations of equality and diversity.


Response to CHH letter

The British International Studies Association reaffirms the importance of academic freedom for the work of its members and for academics and teachers in UK universities.
The letter sent by Chris Heaton-Harris MP (read text of letter here) to UK university vice chancellors, and especially its request to name academics involved in teaching European affairs, is unclear in its motive or in the use to which the requested material was to be put.
The protection of the free speech and academic independence of our members within UK universities is enshrined in law. Academic learned societies, like BISA, promote the free exchange of ideas to further knowledge and understanding. Academics can only contribute to the understanding of complex and controversial issues, to the benefit of government and society, if their freedoms to research, teach and engage the public are preserved.

BISA and PSA Open REF Sub-Panel Members Nominations Process

The PSA and BISA welcome nominations to the REF Sub-Panel 19 Politics and International Studies. If you are interested in serving as a sub-panel member, please send a one page letter of application and a one page CV to either the Chair of PSA or BISA via the emails below. Given the work/time commitment of the sub-panel membership, your application letter should include a clear endorsement by your Head of Department/School.
The deadline for applications is Friday November 17th, 2017.
Applications will be considered by the Trustees of each organization and a long list passed onto the PSA/BISA REF Joint Working Group. This group will collate the applications and produce a thorough, long and diverse nomination list. Following a final endorsement by PSA and BISA Trustees, the list of nominations will be sent to Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Please send applications to either of the addresses:
Angelia Wilson, PSA Chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Richard Whitman, BISA Chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
The PSA/BISA REF Working Group has set out the following criteria for nominations:
Criteria for nomination of REF sub-panel members
We note that there have been considerable efforts to promote equality and diversity in the higher education sector. While the REF process is focused on the institutional conduct in higher education, equality and diversity needs to be recognised in the constitution of the REF panels and sub-panels themselves.
The sub-panel membership should reflect the excellence and diversity of politics and international relations scholarship in the UK. We are supportive of the two stage recruitment process for sub-panels to ensure representativeness on the panel. However, representativeness in terms of plurality in the discipline and equality and diversity need to be reflected throughout the process.
The nomination process should be guided by the overall objectives of excellence and diversity, as defined by:
  • An international recognition in politics and international relations as identified by publications record, membership on editorial boards/journal editorship and/or research funding bodies.
  • A recognition and understanding of the excellence in scholarly work that is conducted in politics and international relations across fields and methodologies.
  • A recognition that the panel membership needs to reflect the goals of equality and diversity in scholarship in terms of gender, sexuality, region, race and ethnicity, scope and focus of their home institution and geographical location.
  • A recognition of the importance of collegiality in terms of promoting the breath of politics and international relations scholarship in terms of research and institutional settings, as indicated by contributions to institutional and professional bodies, as well as the promotion of equality and diversity.
You can find out more about the HEFCE recruitment process here.
We would like to draw your attention to a few points therein:
“In general we expect that candidates nominated to be sub-panel members at this stage, but not appointed in 2018, would also be considered as potential sub-panel members or assessors at the next round of appointments.  During 2020 we will also invite a further round of nominations for sub-panel members and assessors.”
“The four UK higher education (HE) funding bodies recognise that diversity of perspective and experience contributes fundamental insight and value to the work of the REF panels, and that this insight and value comes not only from academic achievement but also from other aspects of panel members’ lives. We have introduced several measures to the recruitment process for panel members, which are aimed at increasing the representativeness of the REF panel membership. This reflects the funding bodies’ wider commitment to supporting equality and diversity in research careers.” For more on E&D in the nominations process please follow the link.

Early Career Small Research Grants

Early Career Small Research Grants

The Early Career Small Research Grants were launched in 2015 in celebration of BISA's 40th anniversary. The grants are open to UK-based BISA members in their early career (five years maximum between the date showing on your PhD certificate and the application deadline). The proposed research must be in International Studies or a related sub-field.


The deadline for applications: 29 November 2019

Find out more here

BISA Signatory of WISC Letter in support of the Central European University

BISA is a member organisation of the Worldwide International Studies Committee (WISC) and is signatory to a letter sent by the Committee to the Hungarian Government and other related agencies in support of the Central European University. Read the letter here. 

BISA deeply concerned by the Presidential Order Limiting Travel to the US of Refugees and Immigrants

The British International Studies Association views the actions of the US President in banning or restricting travel to the U.S. by nationals of selected countries with significant concern. Furthermore, the Association is deeply concerned that the new administration's policies on admitting refugees run in contradiction with the Geneva Convention, of which the United States is a signatory.

New Chair and Vice Chair Announced

January 2017, saw Professor Richard Whitman (University of Kent) and Professor Mark Webber (University of Birmingham) announced as Chair and Vice-chair respectively. They will complete two years in these roles.

Thanks were conveyed to the outgoing chair Professor Nicola Phillips (University of Sheffield) who will now fulfil the honorary role of President for two years.

BISA/PSA Response to Stern Review on REF 2020

The BISA-PSA Joint Working Group on REF 2020 has published its response to the Stern Review's proposals
Many of the proposals come as welcome developments, particularly the inclusion of positions put forward by the BISA-PSA Joint Working Group in March: - the continuation of peer review; the importance of continuing the block grant system;  support for incremental change; and the importance of addressing the perversities of the existing system, especially in terms of interdisciplinary research. 
However the Group calls for greater attention to be paid to the potential interaction of future REF and TEF frameworks, and has identified the following key proposals by the Stern review as requiring more careful consideration as HEFCE is developing its position:
a) All research-active staff should be submitted 
b) Outputs should be submitted on the basis of a set average number per FTE with some flexibility for researchers to submit more or fewer than the average 
c) Outputs are not portable - once an output has been 'accepted', it 'belongs' to the specific institution
d) Move to institutional level impact case studies 
e) Wider definition of impact
f) Move to a double-environment statement 
g) A 'more strategic and imaginative use' of the REF should be made by the Government and UKRI 

Joint statement on the ongoing situation in Turkey

A Joint Statement on the Ongoing Situation in Turkey
As professional associations of social scientists in various disciplines, some of which have members in Turkey, the organizations listed below are deeply concerned about recent reports of infringements of academic freedom in Turkey, in particular in the aftermath of the recent attempt at a coup d’état. These reports refer, amongst other things, to the dismissal of over 1500 university deans and professors, and to a ban on foreign travel for all academics in Turkey. We do not want to interfere in domestic Turkish politics, but we can and must speak out when academic freedom is at risk. Academic freedom is vital for all disciplines, but particularly so for scholars studying social and political developments. We call on the Turkish political authorities to take all possible steps to guarantee that our members, affiliates, and other academics are allowed to continue their scholarly work without interference. Meanwhile we offer our sympathy and support to our Turkish members/affiliates and other academics in Turkey.
The British International Studies Association (BISA)
The Conseil Européen pour les langues/European Language Council (CEL/ELC)
The Europaeum
The European Alliance of Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH)
The European Association of Geographers (EUROGEO)
The European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR)
The European Confederation of Political Science Associations (ECPSA)
The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR)
The Federation Internationale des Associations d’Études Classiques (FIEC)
The International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP))
The International Studies Association (ISA)
The Political Studies Association (PSA)
UACES (the Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies)
The Vereniging voor Politieke Wetenschappen (Belgian Political Science Association VPW)

The BISA trustees also endorse the statement issued by the Middle East Studies Association, read the statement here.
British International Studies Association


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