30 April 2013 4 Comments
As I was digesting information about the funding cuts a few weeks ago, I read Kate Bowles’ considered piece on the folly of applying an “efficiency dividend” to higher education.
At the time, I wanted to blog more specifically on the idea of applying such a mechanistic and corrosive idea as an “efficiency dividend” to research institutions and the effect it would have on research cultures.
When I sat down to type it up, I realised that it would be a long, tedious rant that no-one would want to read.
What I thought might be more useful is a post focused on myths about research cultures, and letting these cultures’ specific, complex forms speak for themselves.
Universities and institutes scrambling for pieces of the (often shrinking) grant pie is a narrative as old as time. OK, maybe not quite that old, but certainly old enough to scar the past few generations of academics and researchers. There’s the constant hope for a slice of the grant pie; sometimes, we make do with crumbs and, at other times, we go hungry.
As the pressures of chasing the funding dragon bite deeper into research organisations, many in senior roles talk ever more loudly about building research capacity and structuring researcher development. These strategies are meant to result in better and more research wins (and outputs), and institutional hopes of establishing a research workforce that’s upwardly mobile for excellence metrics (e.g. Excellence in Research for Australia) or other metrics that might come out of the oven.
Before I spend too much time mixing metaphors about dragons, pies, and baking, here are five myths about research cultures I want to debunk: