Skip to content

Why should universities consider submitting to Area Studies in REF2021?

November 18, 2019

In a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’, a deep knowledge and understanding of other countries, regions and peoples of the world will attain heightened levels of strategic importance for all sectors of the UK economy and all parts of society. Work in Area Studies across the breadth of the UK’s Higher Education sector will thus form a key component of our collective response to the challenges that UK society will face. Bearing this in mind, the UK Council of Area Studies Associations [UKCASA] wishes to encourage universities to submit their area- and region-focused research to UoA25 Area Studies in REF2021. This Unit of Assessment offers a number of key features which are attentive to the disciplinary, conceptual and methodological challenges of this important work.


  1. Interdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinarity has taken on increased importance for REF2021. With its focus on understanding a country or region, Area Studies draws on relevant disciplines and methodologies from both the humanities and social sciences for understanding the country, region or issue under study. As such, it is by its very nature both multi- and inter- disciplinary and encouraging of trans- disciplinary initiatives that explore creative ways of working across disciplinary boundaries. The world is made up of a mosaic of peoples and communities, each characterised by a complex relationship to local milieu and diverse – and changing – links to regional and global processes. Area Studies, with its wide embrace of disciplinary specialisms in addition to multi-and inter-disciplinary approaches, is well placed to explore such diversity.

Area Studies actively encourages multi- and inter- disciplinary approaches, as well as innovative, ‘risk-taking’ trans-disciplinary work.


  1. Innovation

Area Studies promotes innovative approaches to contemporary/historical foci – working across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries – and embraces innovative output. It is not just tolerant of, but actively encourages, and seeks to reward, innovation and excellence in both traditional and non-traditional formats.


  1. Diversity

In REF the Area Studies UoA facilitates and encourages submissions from multi- and inter-disciplinary departments, as well as from research clusters that draw in staff from several different departments. The UoA takes a broad view of what constitutes area studies, which includes, but is not limited to: political, social, anthropological and historical studies; language studies (including translation and discourse analysis); literature, culture and thought; film and media studies; visual cultures; postcolonial studies; indigeneity; and thematic work (e.g. gender, migration studies).


  1. Impact

Area Studies colleagues typically possess extensive networks in the countries/regions in which they work and collaborate with local people, institutions and organisations. Engagement with non-academic communities can take many forms and may incorporate local-level activism through to national-level policy advocacy. The increased significance of the Impact Case Study (the importance of which has increased to 25% of the Grade Point Average in REF2021) means that there are considerable benefits to be derived from allowing Area Studies units to develop and submit such activity in a coherent manner. The impact agenda in Area Studies often has an international focus, which presents challenges that the Area Studies sub-panel appreciates and to which it is sensitive.


  1. External funding

Within the humanities and social sciences, Area Studies has a strong track-record of attracting external research funding. The opportunities for such funding have increased in recent years with the creation of the DfID/ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund.


In conclusion, the health and vitality of Area Studies will be essential to the UK’s success in confronting rapidly evolving global challenges. UKCASA thus encourages universities to submit area studies research to the Area Studies sub-panel. We are confident that the sub-panel will recognise excellence wherever it is found and in whatever form – be it outputs, impact and environment – whilst acknowledging that excellent research is not determined by the type of publication, or the language, in which it appears.

Minutes of the UKCASA Annual Meeting 1st October 2018

November 18, 2019

Senate House, University of London, 12pm

Present: Tony Chafer (ASMCF, Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, UKCASA President), Susan Hodgett (British Association for Canadian Studies and UKCASA Treasurer), Jon Oldfield (BASEES, UKCASA Secretary), Michael Collins (British Association for American Studies), S Yi (British Association for Chinese Studies), Alan Hallsworth (British Association for Canadian Studies), Peter Matanle (British Association of Japanese Studies), Maria Garcia (UACES), John Fisher (Society for Latin American Studies), Deirdre McKay (Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the UK).


Apologies: NA


  1. Minutes and matters arising: 

Minutes for the meeting 29 January 2018 were discussed. The affiliation for the postgraduate support was corrected. The minutes were then agreed as an accurate statement.

  1. The sole item on the agenda was UKCASA’s response to the REF2021 consultation on guidance and criteria. The Chair noted that the deadline for the feedback was 15th October 2018. The Chair provided a brief overview of the main issues and opened the discussion up to the floor.

Cross-referral issues and interdisciplinarity

It was noted that at times there was limited consistency within the document concerning the stated boundaries of the different units of study. More specifically, there seemed scope for other units of assessment (beyond Area Studies) to be clearer with respect to cross-referral potential via their unit descriptors.

This general point was returned to at the end of the discussion with comment on the changing ways in which different panels are framing their activities, resulting in an overlap between different panels in some cases e.g. it was noted that the Politics Panel had listed Area Studies as part of what is covered by the UoA. There was some discussion over the extent to which interdisciplinary Area Studies work might be treated fairly by a disciplinary-based panel.

There was a discussion around the potential discrepancy between the current funding agenda (e.g. emphasis on Global Challenges) and the somewhat rigid disciplinary-based emphasis of REF i.e. initiatives such as the GCRF encourage interdisciplinary work beyond the UK. This led on to a reflection on the role of Interdisciplinary Champions (IDs). There was some uncertainty over the effectiveness of such champions particularly in view of the likely increase in the volume of interdisciplinary work returning to different panels (not just panels such as Area Studies). At the same time, it was acknowledged that the function of ID champions was to ensure that interdisciplinary work was not disadvantaged and as such they could call on further assistance if required.

It was stressed that the Area Studies panel was the ‘stand out’ interdisciplinary UoA in the last REF exercise.

Impact Case studies

Discussion moved on to consider the role of impact case studies and it was suggested that the nature of much Area Studies work, where the impact was overseas, undermined the submission of case studies, with knock-on effects for the number of returning Area Studies departments i.e. it was often more difficult to demonstrate impact beyond the UK due to a host of logistical, social and political issues.

It was noted that the Area Studies panel is very aware of such issues and it was also stressed that the negative perceptions often lie with the cautious attitude of institutions.

Language considerations

There was some uncertainty expressed over the extent to which the use/employment of non-English language data and sources was an integral element of a high quality Area Studies return. It was noted that while the use of non-English data was clearly common within the research outputs of the panel, it was not an essential element.

As an aside, it was noted that the Area Studies panel was aware of the tendency for some languages (and associated fieldwork) to consume considerable amounts of time due to their relative complexity, and that this had consequences for the volume and frequency of outputs.


Discussion moved on to reflect on the desirability of greater precision in the use of certain terms within the document. It was noted that the term ‘significant’ was utilised rather loosely at times. For example, different disciplines have different approaches to the issue of ‘overlap’ between outputs grounded in their different methods, approaches etc. and it would be useful to have clarification on what is understood as ‘significant overlap’ in different panels in order to avoid some outputs being penalized.

Panel D’s approach to outputs

It was flagged strongly that Panels C and D do not take account of where outputs are published, but rather emphasise the assessment of the quality of the individual piece of work.

Furthermore, it was underlined that both panels accept outputs in different languages.

And, Panel D does not take into account a journal’s impact factor.

It was noted that institutions often assume there is a hierarchy in terms of publications (and language of output), but this is not the case for Panels C and D.

Linked to this it was underlined that monographs will not need to be open access for REF 2021.

There was some discussion around the availability of expertise to assess the materials submitted to different panels and particularly in view of the likely increase in interdisciplinary work.

It was stressed that the Area Studies panel had already noted the likelihood that it would need to recruit additional expertise in due course.

Indicative list of independent Research Fellowships

Currently there is an indicative list of research fellowships provided in the documentation in order to assist institutions in making a determination as to which type of independent fellowships might be eligible for the submission process.

Some felt that an indicative list would inevitably be used conservatively by institutions and result in prestigious but less well-known fellowships not being considered. Others saw the value in such a list as long as its indicative nature was made very clear.

It was agreed that associations should flag any additional fellowships they feel might usefully appear on the indicative list to the Chair/Secretary for inclusion in the return.



Eligibility of seconded staff and the proposed ineligibility of staff based in a discrete department or unit outside the UK

No clear view emerged from the meeting on this point.

Proposal for taking account of staff circumstances

In general there was support for this proposal and the proposed tariff system.

Clarity /usefulness of glossary of output types

It was noted that there had been changes made to this section. Colleagues were asked to check if they were happy with the changes, particularly relating to edited books and translations. Any comments to the Secretary/Chair by 8th October.

Ineligible outputs from staff made redundant (unless voluntary redundancy)

There was support for this proposal.

Co-authored outputs to be submitted only once in the same unit submission

There was general support for this proposal.

Clarity of guidance

See note above.

Area Studies descriptor

It was noted that this had been revised in order to underline the panel’s openness to innovative interdisciplinary work. There was general support for the reworking of the descriptor.

  1. AOB – there was no other business to report

Chair concluded the formal affairs at 1.20pm and brought the meeting to end.

Minutes of the UKCASA Ordinary General Meeting, 23rd June 2017

February 2, 2018

Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Paul Webley Wing, Senate House, London


Present: Tony Chafer (ASMCF, Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, UKCASA President), Susan Hodgett (British Association for Canadian Studies and UKCASA Treasurer), Insa Nolte (African Studies Association of the UK, UKCASA executive committee), Deirdre McKay (Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the UK), Cosima Bruno (British Association for Chinese Studies); Jon Oldfield (BASEES, UKCASA Secretary)

Apologies: Christopher Hood (BAJS), Chris Tinker, Helen Drake (UACES), Emily Linnemann (UACES), Brian Ward (BAAS), David Wood (SLAS).


  1. Minutes and matters arising: 

Minutes for the meeting 2 March 2017 were agreed as an accurate statement.

  1. Chair’s Report

The Chair reported on his activities during the last year:

  • New subject benchmark for Area Studies was adopted last summer (Susan Hodgett has acted as Co-Chair of the benchmark review group) and the Chair had also had formal input to the process.
  • The Chair had responded to a HEFCE consultation on REF2021 on behalf of UKCASA. He noted that 8 member associations had assisted in shaping this response. The consultation on the REF process had closed 17 March 2017.
  • Noted the key issue concerning the proposal to link Units of Assessment to HESA returns. In this scenario, Area Studies UoA would be subsumed within Geography. The Chair had made a strong argument that the proposed HESA units (teaching) were not best suited for research assessment, and it would have complicated implications for e.g. production of environment statement etc. The Chair was hopeful that the final proposals by HEFCE would seek to avoid the link to HESA returns.
  • The Chair attended various meetings during the course of the year on behalf of UKCASA e.g.  British Academy, UCML, Arts & Humanities Alliance etc.
  • The UKCASA meeting in March 2017 had included two HEFCE representatives who had responded to member association concerns during a Q&A session.
  • Susan Hodgett flagged the Blurring Genres – AHRC network initiative. Susan reviewed events to date and highlighted forthcoming events in Berkeley (CA) and Ulster. Susan also noted the intention to develop one or two additional events and encouraged input from member associations in this regard.
  • More details can be found here:
  • Insa Nolte reported on her recent engagement with the GCRF (Global Challenge Research Fund) and with a specific focus on work linked to African Studies. This opened up a broader discussion around the potential for Area Studies to push the agenda with respect to the GCRF. There was discussion around the scope for UKCASA to be active in this area. One short-term possibility would be to invite a member of the GCRF Steering Committee to a UKCASA meeting. It was agreed to explore this possibility.
  1. Treasurer’s report 

Balance of account: £753.98.

One subscription had been received in 2016-17. It was noted that UKCASA tends to request monies every 2-3 years from member organisations dependent upon need.

  1. Reports from member representatives:
    1. Noted that the BASEES (British Assoc. for Slavonic and East European Studies) annual conference would take place in Cambridge at the end of March 2018. Deadline for submission of panels/papers autumn 2017.
    2. The African Studies Association of the UK had established workshops in order to encourage African scholars to publish in the UK. And, there had also been success in encouraging US colleagues to provide a similar initiative via a collaboration with US African Studies in the US and the newly established African Studies Association in Africa.
    3. Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the UK had established a series of research and impact awards open to SE Asian scholars (6 awards to date).
    4. British Association for Canadian Studies – noted that its 2017 conference had focused on the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Federation. Awards for PGRs and other student were also highlighted.
    5. Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France provided Visiting Scholarships supporting movement of scholars from Francophone countries to the UK.
  2. AOB – there was no other business to report

Chair concluded the formal affairs and brought the meeting to end.

Interdisciplinary research: Policy and practice conference

December 13, 2016

British Academy, London, 8 December 2016


The event, sponsored by the British Academy, RCUK, and HEFCE, brought together a range of leading academics and practitioners in order to reflect on the place and role of interdisciplinary research within the broader academy.


Reports in recent months from the British Academy, HEFCE and other bodies have raised the profile of the interdisciplinary issue within UK academia. Furthermore, its inclusion in the Stern Review ensures that it will remain of significance for the current REF cycle. The meeting was not a critical enquiry into the positive and negative aspects of interdisciplinarity and associated methodologies, with the working assumption being that it was a thing of value and needed pushing forward. For an interdisciplinary Area Studies audience, greater awareness of the levels of interdisciplinary work undertaken on a daily basis in university departments throughout the UK might have been displayed. At the same time, it became evident during the course of the event that the issue with interdisciplinarity is less to do with the work currently being carried out, and more to do with the inadequate nature of formal assessment criteria, support infrastructure and incentive frameworks.


The morning sessions explored the broad policy landscape with the HEFCE representative, in particular, providing useful insight into current trends. The recently published HEFCE reports are worth a look in this regard:,110229,en.html .

Discussion during this morning session was general in nature and prefaced the more focussed afternoon sessions which were split into parallel ‘Research assessment and funding’, ‘Research development and careers’ and ‘case study’ sessions.


Building on the recommendations found within the Stern Report, there was some discussion about the different ways in which interdisciplinarity might be incorporated into the second REF process. There was, for example, discussion around the use of ‘interdisciplinary’ champions on sub-panels, which was met with general support by those in attendance. Discussion also covered the ways in which interdisciplinarity is currently internalised within the peer-review process. There was broad agreement that existing processes tended to favour proposals with a clearer disciplinary root. As part of this discussion, the Wellcome Trust representative provided a useful insight into its own current research funding activity and made a strong case for its natural affinity with the riskier aspects of interdisciplinary work.


There was focussed discussion around the difficulties of advancing a career founded on interdisciplinarity, with the general sense being that this type of career path was difficult to advance in a coherent manner. The considerable range of disciplines represented at the meeting ensured that it was difficult to get any real sense of how to address this perceived issue in an effective manner. At the same time, it should be noted that having attended the ‘Research assessment and funding’ panel, I was unable to attend the parallel panel on ‘Researcher development’ where this issue would have attracted more focussed discussion.


In general, it was instructive to note how the link between innovation and interdisciplinarity is largely assumed, although one or two comments from the floor did at least raise the methodological challenges presented by interdisciplinary research. Nevertheless, the potential issues associated with this type of research were largely avoided. In view of the increasingly visible role of interdisciplinary research, there does some scope for the Area Studies community to maintain its input and guidance in this area drawing upon its considerable experience (methodologically, conceptually, managerially etc).


More details concerning the event (including the agenda and speakers) can be found here:,110328,en.html

Jon Oldfield, University of Birmingham

Minutes of the Ordinary General Meeting

December 13, 2016

United Kingdom Council of Area Studies Associations (UKCASA)

Ordinary General Meeting


2.30pm 29 June 2016


Venue: UCL Institute of the Americas, UCL, 51 Gordon Square, London



Tony Chafer, The Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, ASMCF (President);

Emma Linnemann, University Association for Contemporary European Studies, UACES;

Tony McCulloch, British Association for Canadian Studies, BACS;

Uta Balbier, British Association for American Studies, BAAS;

Rajesh Venugopal, British Association for South Asian Studies, BASAS;

Michael Charney, SOAS;

John Fisher, Society for Latin American Studies, SLAS;

Paul Starkey, British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, BRISMES;

Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas, Association of Contemporary Iberian Studies, ACIS;

Susan Hodgett, British Association for Canadian Studies, BACS (Treasurer);

Jon Oldfield, British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, BASEES (Secretary).



Mark Gant, Brian Ward


The meeting was opened by a talk from Professor Michel Hockx, SOAS, former Chair of the British Association of Chinese Studies. The talk was entitled ‘LBAS, HEFCE PSS, and UK Area Studies’ and reflected upon recent changes in support for Chinese studies, and Area Studies in general, within the UK HE sector.

Professor Hockx began by considering changes in the character of Chinese Studies within the UK over the course of the last two decades. He noted the generally positive trends in terms of student numbers over this period and the associated increase in institutional support. In addition, he underlined the tendency for the sector to rely on non-British academics pointing at an issue with access to postgraduate level training for UK students.


Professor Hockx then reflected on the shifting terrain of national initiatives aimed at supporting language-based areas studies in general e.g. 2006-12 LBAS initiative funded by the ESRC /AHRC and the more recent AHRC-funded initiative in this area (2012-15). It was within this context that the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS) emerged (2014-15) with a focus on benefiting students at PGT level. Successful initiatives under the scheme included an LBAS consortium led by SOAS (partner institutions included: BICC, WREAC, CASAW) which was focused on the Arab World, China, Japan, Korea, South Asia. The consortium provided 2-year MA Programmes with scholarship support with an emphasis on language training either as part of the disciplinary Masters or else running in tandem with the Masters programme. The initiative was also supported by outreach events and additional training.


The scheme was successful in assisting the movement of UK students into these subject areas in 2014-15. As part of a series of concluding remarks, Professor Hockx noted that Area Studies in the UK remained heavily shaped by Anglophone paradigms, whereby the integration of language training/specialisms into Area Studies is seen as problematic.


Business meeting

  1. Apologies were received (see above).
  2. Previous minutes and matters arising

A few typographical errors were noted in the minutes and these would be corrected.


The Chair reported that issues of accessing the website had now been resolved and the website had been updated. He asked member association representatives to check that relevant details were correct and up to date.


3.Susan Hodgett outlined the work of the new AHRC-supported initiative ‘Blurring Genres Network: Recovering the Humanities for Political Science and Area Studies’. This project will put in place a network of scholars and policy-makers to explore innovations in theory and practice in recovering the research methods of the Arts and Humanities encouraging their use by Political Scientists, Area Studies scholars and policy-makers in the UK and beyond. The initiative will run over 18 months and consist of 6 meetings:


  1. Politics as Drama – SOAS, University of London – Tues. 28 June 2016
  2. Policy as Stories and Narratives – Home Office, London – Friday 18 November 2016
  3. Politics as History – Manchester University – Monday 27 February 2017
  4. Politics as Anthropology – University of Southampton – Friday 23 June 2017
  5. Politics as Literature – University of California Berkeley – Wed. 6 September 2017
  6. Politics as Philosophy – Ulster University – Friday 17 November 2017


Information concerning the scheduled events will be disseminated to members of UKCASA.




4.Report on Chair’s work (since November 2015)

  1. The proposed meeting with the REF Manager had not taken place as no REF Manager was currently in place.


  1. The Chair had met with Ben Johnson – Higher Education Policy Adviser at HEFCE and currently responsible for overseeing REF 2020 preparations. HEFCE is waiting to see the findings of the Stern Review which are due early July. If the Stern Review is forthcoming in July, HEFCE will aim to publish consultation documents on REF 2020 during the autumn 2016. Further delay in the basic outline of REF 2020 may well see the census date pushed back. There seems to be no real appetite in HEFCE for major changes to Panel configurations.


A key area of interest for HEFCE with regard to the REF 2020 process is interdisciplinarity. The Chair highlighted the following report: Review of the UK’s Interdisciplinary Research,,104883,en.html, which members may be interested in accessing.


Linked to this, it was noted that HEFCE is interested to meet with the Areas Studies community in order to discuss interdisciplinarity and the REF.


  1. It was noted that as a number of member associations were not actively using Twitter accounts, communication from UKCASA remained predominantly via email.


As part of this, member representatives were now being emailed requests for oral/written evidence from the Parliamentary Outreach group.


  1. Susan Hodgett and the Chair met with representatives of the British Academy in connection with the BA’s own project on interdisciplinarity. The associated report will be launched on the 12 July 2016.


  1. The Chair had made a submission to the Stern Review on behalf of UKCASA. He noted that the document reflected key points articulated by member associations. It was also noted that other member associations had responded independently.


  1. The Chair had consolidated links with the Arts and Humanities Alliance and had attended their January meeting. This had included discussion of the AHRC’s Doctoral Training grant initiative.


  1. The Chair asked for further views on interdisciplinarity from member associations.


  1. Future activities: the Chair flagged a possible 1-day UKCASA event (e.g. to be held at the British Academy).


He also suggested that member associations might consider convening a cross-disciplinary /comparative panel at their annual conferences in order to strengthen the position of Area Studies.


  1. Treasurers/ membership report – Susan Hodgett noted no change in membership since November.


The association’s financial resources were gradually decreasing and currently stood at: £1119.28.


The Chair requested approval to pay a small honorarium (£150) to the postgraduate who had assisted in revamping and updating UKCASA’s website. This was agreed.


  1. Member Association announcements

Members reported healthy activity with respect to their own subject associations.

SEMINAR Blurring Genres Research Network, 17 Nov., SOAS

October 6, 2016

Second AHRC funded seminar of the Blurring Genres Research Network in SOAS

Thursday 17th November 2016

Places will be on a first come first served basis. We would be delighted to have attendees from UKCASA members and UKCASA, President Tony Chafer will speak.

The first seminar was very exciting intellectually and I hope this one will be the same. We look forward to welcoming you there.  We hope attendees will include academics (humanities, social science, others) and policy makers.

Anyone interested please contact Susan Hodgett:

Minutes of the UKCASA Ordinary Meeting

July 3, 2016

Minutes of the UKCASA Ordinary Meeting 9.11.2015, UCL, SSEES
Building, 16 Taviton Street, Room 432

Present: Tony Chafer (ASMCF, Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, UKCASA President), Susan Hodgett (British Association for Canadian Studies and UKCASA Treasurer), Insa Nolte (African Studies Association of the UK), …

The president expressed his thanks to organisers of conference Area Studies in the 21 st Century for hosting the meeting and including UKCASA delegates in the lunch. He announced that no nominations for secretary had been received yet and suggested discussing the issue again under AOB.

1. Apologies

None received.

2. Notes from Feb 2015 meeting with REF representatives

One error in minutes, correction: Vice President of the Association is Insa Nolte.

3. Matters arising

It was discussed whether the Association should move to annual subscription rather than asking for money when needed. There was no strong feeling that there was a need for change.

4. President’s report on recent actions

The UKCASA Website was originally set up by John Canning at Subject Centre for Languages Linguisics and Area Studies (LLAS) in Southampton which has now lost its funding. The details of how to access template may have been lost. John Canning’s email cannot be removed. If that cannot be changed, the website may have to be moved.

The president set up a twitter account (@THEUKCASA) (to communicate Foreign Office requests for expert evidence).

The president met with the Arts and Humanities Alliance, whose members are concerned about the impact of the comprehensive spending review. McKinsey recommended the abolition of HEFCE, QR and other major university funding sources and their replacement by Research UK. If that were to come to pass, one worry is that funding especially in the Arts Humanities and Social Sciences might be drastically reduced; all funding will be (large) project based. Area studies were not strongly represented in new AHRC doctoral training programme.

The president has also been invited to the BA for a meeting later in the academic year.

5. Responses to Questionnaire to Member Associations, Priority  Actions for 2016

The overwhelming response by member associations was that Area Studies should stay in Main Panel D (Arts and Humanities) but should (also) include social scientists. One concern was that interdisciplinary research should be made more visible.

Many responses were positive about the possibility of UKCASA organising events and suggested events should be organised on cross-cutting themes, i.e. migration, the growing Chinese presence globally, tourism, citizenship and belonging. The president will raise this with the BA. In the past similar conferences/ events were poorly attended, so it might be interesting to embed such UKCASA events into Area Studies conferences.

Responses were evenly split on membership fees.

The President suggested that this meant UKCASA’s mission included 1. bringing awareness to universities that Area Studies Panel exists and that a submission is valuable; 2. discussing international bids for funding and conferences; and 3. playing a more active role in supporting modern foreign languages at school and university level (even though many people already work on this).

Susan Hodgett pointed out that UKCASA has played an important role in maintaining Area Studies in REF. Once a new REF manager has been appointed, Tony Chafer will meet him early on to ensure there is no retreat. UKCASA was also able to nominate many REF panel members.

Delegates agreed that UKCASA’s case might be strengthened by finding out how big the membership of member associations is. Delegates also discussed how to organise additional events. In addition to encouraging panels across areas (e.g. migration) in Area Studies Conferences, UKCASA could also encourage comparative discussions on forms of interdisciplinary work in Area Studies, or on the different ways in which knowledge on different areas is constructed through different intellectual traditions etc.

Treasurer’s Report

Most associations have renewed their support for UKCASA, which now has £1,200.73. This should be enough for the year if no major events are planned.

Announcements from Member Associations

All organisations in relatively good shape – annual/ biennial conferences are planned and levels of activity are stable. It appeared to some observers that European Studies was not quite as healthy as South Asian and to a lesser degree African Studies.


There were no volunteers for the position of the Secretary.

New research network

February 14, 2016

Susan Hodgett (Ulster University), Rod Rhodes (Southampton), and Mark Bevir (University of Berkeley) have received funding from the AHRC for a research network: ‘Blurring Genres Network: Recovering the Humanities for Political Science and Area Studies’.

The network will bring together experts to explore the ways in which research methodologies associated with the Arts and Humanities are being recovered by political scientists, area studies scholars and policy makers internationally.

If you are interested in knowing more please get in touch with Rod or Susan


Statement from HEFCE on Strategic and Vulnerable Subjects

March 1, 2012

Statement from HEFCE

The Government has asked us to consider what support may be required for subjects in order to avoid undesirable reductions in the scale of provision. We use a mixture of quantitative and qualitative evidence to forecast and monitor the availability of subjects on a regular basis. Where we consider there to be significant evidence of risk to the future availability of a subject, alongside evidence of the strategic importance of this subject, there may be a need for intervention.

Our new policy takes account of the broad changes in the funding of higher education. We are currently inviting views on this approach to SIVS through our consultation on teaching funding. The deadline for responses is 25 May 2012. The Board paper below also sets out in more detail our new policy in this area.

Full details on HEFCE website