26 May 2015 Leave a comment
The question of how to build a research culture occupies a lot of big-brained types at universities, at all levels.
PhD researchers want to feel they’re a part of, and can contribute to, a good one. Professors like to think that they helped create and grow a thriving one.
University executives want an excellent one yesterday, preferably bristling with national government grants, effective and fat industry partnerships, top-flight publications, and seamless higher degree candidatures and completions. Sometimes, they want this almost instantly.
Research cultures are complex and often fragile systems, and when you look too hard for specific components to engineer one, the whole thing can evaporate.
Can you force staff to be productive without having a good research culture? I think you can – but you won’t have productive or happy researchers for very long, in that case. Nor would you have particularly good research.
For me, one of the best barometers of the health of an institutional research culture is the presence and activity of graduate researcher groups and associations.