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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Francesc Xavier Grau Vidal, University Rovira i Virgili
The recent large reduction in public finance in Spain is affecting all public services, including the pillars of our society: the health service, social cohesion, and education. In the case of universities, the effect is twofold. In addition to negatively influencing their role as providers of higher education, the reduction in public finance is harming our universities’ ability to generate knowledge and their power to bring about cultural, social and economic change.
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.
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.
Interview with Yuko Harayama, Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office of Japan
In Japan, we realized we needed to take advantage of our existing universities’ knowledge-creation capacity and transform that into industry. However is there a danger in moving away from basic research? The serendipitous use of created knowledge is a key component of innovation, but the pressure from policy makers is to explain the impact up front, which cannot be done in such a scenario.
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.
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 Joshua Rosenbloom, National Science Foundation
Measuring the economic benefits of investments in R&D requires tracing a complex web of influences over periods of several decades. A community of practice centered on key issues in science and innovation policy has emerged in support of drivers to place policy decisions on a sound scientific basis. Only through a sustained and systematic study of this subject will we improve our understanding of the key issues that motivated the call for a Science of Science Policy.
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 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 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.
By Michiharu Nakamura, Japan Science and Technology Agency
Over its history, the Japan Science and Technology Agency has nurtured its own distinct competencies, alongside a robust network of universities and private enterprises. By analyzing the S&T landscape around the world, JST can make proposals throughout Japan on high-impact research areas and subjects that should be addressed.
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.
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.
By Alexander Soldatov, Southern Federal University
Synergy between the traditional Russian route for development of a research laboratory in the form of a scientific school and extensive international mobility for researchers led to the remarkable growth and development of Southern Federal University's International Research Center for Smart Materials.
Eye on Mexico: Public support for science is high, but transition to a research-based economy remains the challenge
By Edmundo A. Gutiérrez-D., National Institute for Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics, Mexico
Most Mexican companies are oriented towards low-tech production and commercialization of imported goods, while the government is steering the research community, through the evaluation process, towards an international qualification level, which is not correlated with the country’s current industrial needs. This disconnect is hindering the transition toward a more technology-oriented base economy. There is an urgent need to build confidence in the joint university-industry relationship and to reorient high-skilled human resources to meet Mexico’s industrial and technology needs.
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 Miyoung Chun, The Kavli Foundation
The Kavli Foundation has carved out strategic positions as a catalyzer in well-established centers of science and as a leader in identifying and developing new niche areas of science in a timely way. Kavli Institutes are structured to enable a level of independent inquiry lacking in funding from other sources.
By Scott Rutherford, Queen's University Belfast
It is no surprise that the need for research information comes from both internal and external drivers. Perhaps the most important external driver for information within the UK context is the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an initiative of the four UK higher education funding bodies to assess the performance of UK researchers.
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.