CWTS in new European consortium

Good news came our way yesterday! CWTS will be partner in a new project funded by the Swedisch Riksbankens Jubileumsfond: Knowledge in science and policy. Creating an evidence base for converging modes of governance in policy and science (KNOWSCIENCE). The project is coordinated by Merle Jacob (Lund University, Sweden). Other partners in the consortium are Dietmar Braun (Lausanne University, Switzerland), Tomas Hellström (Department of Business Administration, Lund University), Niilo Kauppi (CNRS, Strasbourg, France), Duncan Thomas & Maria Nedeva (Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Manchester Business School, UK), Rikard Stankiewitz (Lund University), and Sarah de Rijcke & Paul Wouters (CWTS).

KNOWSCIENCE focuses on deepening our understanding of the interplay between policy instruments intended to govern the structural organization of higher education and research (HER) and the informal rules and processes that organisations have developed for ensuring the validity and quality of the knowledge they produce. KNOWSCIENCE refers to this as the interplay between structural and epistemic governance, and argue that an understanding of this relationship is necessary for building sustainable knowledge producing arrangements and institutions and securing society’s long-term knowledge provision.

The main research question guiding the project is ‘how do policy and the science systems co-produce the conditions for sustainable knowledge provision?’ Specifically we ask:

(a) How are HER policy steering mechanisms enabled, disabled and transformed throughout the HER sector via the academic social system?

(b) What are the most significant unintended consequences of HER policy on the HER system? and

(c) What types of policy frameworks would be required to meet these challenges?

The announcement on the RJ website can be found via this link.

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Collaboration and competition in research – Special Issue

Hot off the press: a special issue of Higher Education Policy, co-edited by Peter van den Besselaar (Free University, Amsterdam), Sven Hemlin (University of Gothenborg, Sweden) and our colleague Inge van der Weijden (CWTS, Leiden University). The special issue is an outcome of one of the tracks at the 2010 EASST (European Association for the Study of Science and Technology) conference in Trento, Italy. All papers zoom in on competition and collaboration, two increasingly dominant components of research both within and between organizations, and often demanded simultaneously. What is the relation between the two, and what are their effects on scientific quality and on higher education?

This interview with Van den Besselaar for Inside Higher Ed zooms in on one of the articles in the special issue. To what extent is success in academic careers determined by cultural, social and intellectual capital, and organisational and contextual factors? Van Balen, Van Arensbergen, Van der Weijden and Van den Besselaar performed a literature study, held interviews, and compared the careers of pairs of similar researchers that were considered talented in their early career and either stayed in or left academia. Their findings suggest that there is not one decisive factor that determines which talented researchers continue or discontinue their academic careers. Some factors were found to be important (e.g. social capital), whereas others were not (cultural and intellectual capital). Interestingly, Van Balen et al. did not find a “systematic relationship between the career success and the academic performance of highly talented scholars, measured as the number of publications and citations.” (p. 330-331)

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