The European Research Conundrum: when research organizations impede scientific and technological breakthroughs despite targets, money and policy to foster these activities
Chris.Armbruster at EUI.EU
Wed Oct 28 16:24:14 EDT 2009
Please find the abstract and the link to a new working paper on the European Research Conundrum. Comments are welcome. I would be interested to hear from colleagues interested in this issue.
Armbruster, Chris, The European Research Conundrum: when research organizations impede scientific and technological breakthroughs despite targets, money and policy to foster these activities. (October 27, 2009).
Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1494534
The European Research Conundrum may be described thus: In the interest of the European Research Dream, the structure and culture of the research organization should be adapted to the mission of achieving scientific and technological breakthroughs but, alas, this mission is first overwhelmed and then deformed by the existing structure and culture of the organization. The conundrum has been highlighted publicly by the high-level review of the European Research Council (ERC), which found fundamental problems related to rules and practices regarding the governance, administration and operations of the ERC that are not adapted to the nature of modern frontier science management. The organization threatens to defeat the mission, even though the ERC is new, corresponds to targets, and is well funded.
This paper advances three arguments. Firstly, the prevalent focus on targets, money and policy is criticized because it does little to bring about the required organizational restructuring while allowing the organization to overwhelm the mission, thus threatening a lock-in of ERA as second rate. Secondly, it is shown that it is known what kind of organizational design is conducive to scientific and technological breakthroughs and that this knowledge could be utilized to drive forward organizational restructuring. Thirdly, some practical suggestions are made how to gather empirical evidence about barriers and challenges in the European Research Area by tracking the experience of grantees of European flagship programmes in a multiple case-study design, which may be extended to innovation systems.
To also speak to those who think that targets, money and policy should remain the focus, the research may be designed in a fashion that accommodates alternative and competing hypotheses as to what is conducive to or impedes scientific and technological breakthroughs and innovations systems.
Scientific breakthroughs, technological inventions, innovation systems, European Research Area, European Research Council, scientific excellence, research university, research funding, research policy, R&D targets
Executive Director, Research Network 1989
Publications and working papers available in Open Access
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