http://enews.ksu.edu.sa/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/UWN.jpgBy Curt Rice. How do centres of excellence influence the work of scientists?
Imagine being a minister in a government and having political responsibility for research in a whole country. Suppose you wonder how good your researchers really are. How can you find out? Some activities researchers do can be measured, so you do that: you measure, you count, you tally, and you end up with some numbers on your desk.
Of course, numbers alone won't answer your question; you need something to compare them with, so you give your minister colleagues in a couple of neighbouring countries a call. Unfortunately, those conversations leave you concerned that the performance of your researchers is weak by comparison....
These debates involve the use of pecuniary resources and autonomy, the use of human resources, and the professionalisation of leadership. More...