By John T. Green, Fellow of Queens’ College, University of Cambridge
John Green's interest in research metrics grew in concert with the UK’s downturn in higher education funding, when it became increasingly apparent that the academic research enterprise required the application of business principles in order to survive and thrive. He later became involved in developing Snowball Metrics, an agreed set of robust and consistent definitions for tried-and tested metrics across the entire spectrum of research activities.
Interview with George Baxter, University of Salford
In October 2013 Sir Andrew Witty published a report exploring how UK universities can maximize the potential of their research output and translate it into supporting economic growth. The report helped the University of Salford confirm areas of focus in research and community engagement.
By Andrew Plume, Elsevier
Historically, studies have shown and continue to demonstrate that researchers desire to disseminate information and further knowledge within their disciplines. But they are also fundamentally human and susceptible to the drivers that motivate us all, including advancement and competition.
By David Kross, Elsevier
Research is big business. But identifying return on investment is not easy for research funders. While publishers almost always include an acknowledgements section in their journals, where authors credit their funding sources, the lack of standardization of funding organizations’ names and their abbreviations make it difficult to use the information for reporting or analysis. Several funding bodies and publishers are now collaborating with CrossRef to address this problem.
Attracting talent in a global academic world: How emerging research universities can benefit from brain circulation
By Jamil Salmi, Global Tertiary Education Expert
Though academic mobility has been a defining element of higher education from its beginnings, it has now reached unprecedented levels, and is likely to continue growing as countries and tertiary education institutions compete for the most talented professionals. As the examples in this article illustrate, a notable selection of universities in emerging economies have succeeded in building their teaching and research capacity by relying extensively on their ability to lure and keep foreign academics, often through directed recruitment from their diasporas.
By Margret Wintermantel, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Internationalizing German universities, attracting highly qualified researchers and students, and increasing global competitiveness are among the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) most important goals. In addition, its joint programs are designed to serve all participating countries on a continual and long-term basis.
Ambitious and agile: The University of Bremen’s institutional strategy for advancing research strengths at a mid-sized university
By Rolf Drechsler and Achim Wiesner, University of Bremen
The University of Bremen produces internationally competitive research, ranking especially high in volume of third-party funding for that research. Bremen has been notably boosted in its development by its capacity for internal cooperation and communication.
Tackling grand challenges: Boosting interdisciplinarity to embrace complexity, unknowns and imperfection
By Gabriele Bammer, The Australian National University
For a team-based interdisciplinary effort to successfully address complex, real-world grand challenges, we need to boost our problem-solving skill sets. In addition to reductionist thinking, which gives us detailed understanding of specific elements of the problem, we need to enhance our ability to also understand the problem as a system. This involves understanding interconnections, possible vicious or stabilizing cycles, simple rules that may underpin complex behaviors, properties that emerge when the focus moves from one level in a hierarchy to another, and so on.
By Andrew Plume, Elsevier
The International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base: 2011 report assessed the performance of the UK's research base. It found that UK researchers generate more articles per researcher, more citations per researcher, and more usage per article authored, and that the researchers' mobility was a key factor.
By Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
So long as faculty mobility is regarded as a begrudged necessity and not as an opportunity, we sever global research from local teaching and drive a deeper wedge between the different functions of the faculty in the 21st-century university.
By Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski, Elsevier
The author explores recent findings about team assembly and composition, as well as trust and communication, and offers related tools leaders can use to implement effective practices in team science.
By Norhayati Zakaria, Universiti Utara Malaysia
With the globalization of research teams, institutions are increasingly paying attention to the interconnections between management competencies and culture. Whether the team is together in one physical location or operates in a virtual environment, challenges can arise from many sources: cultural, managerial, operational, efficiency or effectiveness concerns, and more.
China: Building an innovation talent program system and facing global competition in a knowledge economy
By Yu Wei and Zhaojun Sun, Peking University
China is experiencing a serious shortage of high-level innovation talent, which presents a challenge to current efforts to develop the knowledge economy and build an innovation-oriented country. Efforts are underway to recruit special talents from among the 200,000 Chinese citizens estimated to be working in major developed countries after completing their overseas studies.
By Georgin Lau and Lei Pan, Elsevier
By mining authors’ institutional affiliation data in research publications, Elsevier’s Analytical Services developed and applied a researcher mobility model to Nigeria and China at each country's phase of research development.
By Mohd Jailani Mohd Nor, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
Realizing that R&D excellence cannot happen in bits and pieces, the Ministry of Higher Education has launched a comprehensive initiative to create synergistic efforts in promoting R&D excellence throughout Malaysia. To secure the new incentives, all parties interested in conducting research in Malaysia, including university administrators, research offices, research groups and individual researchers, must now work together in multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams.
Interview with Mary Ellen Perry, NIH, and George Weinstock, WUSTL
Hundreds of researchers and multiple academic institutions and NIH institutes participated in the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) to sequence and analyze microbial genomes, create resource repositories, and examine the associated ethical, legal and social implications. The NIH Common Fund supported the HMP as its goals spanned the missions of several NIH Institutes and Centers.
Interview with Da Hsuan Feng, National Tsing Hua University
The Academic Executive Brief interviews Da Hsuan Feng about the formation of the University System of Taiwan. People in Taiwan realized that merging the four universities would be virtually impossible because of the extremely competitive climate within Taiwanese higher education. Instead, another model was proposed to achieve some sort of commonality for competing not only nationally, but globally.
By Jiecai Han and Xiaohong Wang, Harbin Institute of Technology
To survive the fierce competition for scholars in China, HIT decided to bring talented researchers from abroad to HIT for initiation and fusion of disciplines, and to cultivate talented researchers by having them spend time abroad to open their academic field of view and to go further with their careers.
By Mike Conlon, University of Florida and Kristi L. Holmes, Washington University in St. Louis
In modern science, like never before, it often takes a top-notch team to maximize the discovery process and compete effectively for essential funding opportunities. Forming a world-class team requires a rich and varied type of research discovery, one in which member scientists have both a broad and deep awareness of what is going on in their discipline. To fully understand the 21st Century landscape of science, we now need networks to better collect, observe, disseminate, and evaluate what is going on in science. One such interdisciplinary network is VIVO, which comprises more than 100 institutions representing more than 1 million scholars and support staff across more than 25 countries.
By Bertil Andersson and Tony Mayer, Nanyang Technological University
By changing mind-sets and creating new interactions, we can open universities to new ways of working and generate excitement about interdisciplinary possibilities. Young institutions such as Nanyang Technological University may have advantages in this realm; their structures are not as constrained as those of older institutions. By promoting interdisciplinarity within a Humboldtian ethos, combining research and education, young institutions can be at the forefront of change.
By Brad Fenwick, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
In the winner-take-all system, everyone pays to compete but only one person walks away with the prize. In the competition for grants and contracts, the investment in infrastructure is enormous if you want to remain competitive. As the cost of winning goes up, the resources become scarcer, the prizes become more precious, and the bidding rises. It is increasingly clear that the focus must be on the development of systems that enhance institutional productivity and effectiveness.
By Ram Ramaswamy, University of Hyderabad
Many academic leaders believe that the most exciting developments of any given field lie along its boundaries with other disciplines. This article describes the various multidisciplinary centers established by the University of Hyderabad after it received a grant of approximately US $6 million to focus research in Interfacial Studies. Making faculty members think more about the ways in which disciplines can mesh has encouraged UoH colleagues to venture into exciting and unexplored regions of the academic landscape.
Challenge accepted – Japan’s AIMR champions mathematical integration to afford infinite possibilities
By Motoko Kotani, Tohoku University
In the 21st century, materials science seems to be at a turning point, changing into a more exact science based on fundamental principles and prediction. AIMR is playing a leading role by gathering top international researchers from various backgrounds and developing interdisciplinary research in a supportive environment.
By Chris Llewellyn Smith, University of Oxford
The global scientific landscape has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Since the beginning of the century, global spending on research and development has nearly doubled, and the number of scientific publications has grown by almost a third. This article, based on the Royal Society's "Knowledge, networks and nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century," describes changes in the global scientific scene and analyses their implications.
With Keith Micoli, New York University Langone Medical Center
The Academic Executive Brief interviews Keith Micoli, Postdoctoral Program Director at New York University Langone Medical Center and former chair of the National Postdoctoral Association. Micoli reflects on the importance of postdocs to the US research enterprise, the largely international nature of the position, and the importance of making the postdoc an attractive career option.