Global Restructuring of University and Industry Research Centers, Institutes, and Consortia - Managed Science and Mandatory Evaluation Conflict With Scientific Freedom
A wave of managed scientific research in regional, national, and global scale is restructuring the organization and funding of scholarly and medical research centers at universities, institutes, laboratories, and consortia. It includes mandated evaluation of research centers, performance measures of their degrees of successes and outcomes in the communities served, measures of the degrees of benefits bestowed upon all the stakeholders - including the host universities and funding sources. "THE PAYOFF - Evaluating Research Centers, Institutes, Laboratories, and Consortia For Success" by William R. Tash of Temple University and Stephen Miles Sacks of SciPolicy Publications (http://scipolicy. net) highlights the issues and includes a comprehensive guide for research directors, administrators, and funding officials to evaluate their research centers for success.
Haverford, PA (PRWEB) July 26, 2004
The Manhattan project at the University of Chicago and the successful development of the Atomic Bomb (1945) are commonly thought of as the beginning of the era of Âbig science." Since then, large-scale research and technology bureaucracy Â involving tens of thousands of researchers, laboratories, and equipments on projects Â have produced many of the major inventions of modernity including jet aircraft, space travel, and computerization. Debate has lasted for decades about the wisdom of emphasizing big versus small science.
In recent years, a wave of managed scientific research in regional, national, and global scale is restructuring the organization and funding of scholarly and medical research worldwide. There are strings attached for the mandatory evaluation of research centers in terms of the degrees of success and outcomes they produce upon the communities they serve - as well as the degrees of benefits they bestow upon stakeholders and their host organizations. Mandated evaluation is a revolution in contrast to the norm of freedom of research that has been the hallmark of science since the middle ages and the infamous struggles of Galileo with the church over scientific freedom.
These are some of the themes of a new book THE PAYOFF Â Evaluating Research Centers, Laboratories, and Consortia For Success! - by William Tash, Ph. D. Professor of Sociology at Temple University and Stephen Miles Sacks, Ph. D. Editor of SciPolicy Publications (http://scipolicy. net (http://scipolicy. net)). The book highlights findings of a national study of 300 research centers (1997 survey baseline and 2004 estimates for making comparisons), and it gives a comprehensive guide for conducting evaluations of research centers for success.
According to Drs. Tash and Sacks, "Big science projects are being managed by new multi-organization and global research enterprises. The previous way of conducting research in individual laboratories is giving way to the rise of skyscraping buildings that house large research centers that have global communications networks and information databases; and, they link laboratories and researchers nationally and internationally in diverse and multidiscipline fields - such as biotechnology. The rise of the contemporary research centers is collateral to a great expansion of physical facilities, information infrastructure, globally linked organizations, and financial management of research enterprises. The buildings, laboratories, administrative units, and management units for faculty and student participation are producing millions of dollars of revenue per center and such centers are indivisible from the scientific enterprise today."
"Information and communication technologies are changing the way research projects are organized and carried out. Both big and relatively small projects can involve the participation of thousands of researchers around the world who are located in different organizations. Centers are competing for the best researchers in the world and the latest and best equipment and facilities to support new efforts. The research is becoming systematized and success driven - not necessarily big science everywhere - but as organized and managed science that are goal oriented in varying scales of operations. And therein follow the need for carrying out of evaluations of research centers and consortia to determine their extent of success. At the same time the centers are expanding the communications of their activities to worldwide audiences and making social as well as technical advances available worldwide."
"Managed research centers of multi disciplines with major funding from multi sources in global, national, and regional scope are the new ÂdarlingsÂ of research intensive universities and federal programs. The national survey of research centers reported that Federal funding support for the centers amounts to one-third of federal funding for university research. According to the National Science Foundation's latest data, 2002, Federal support for university research and development was $21.8 billion. Of this amount, $7.0 billion is estimated to go for research centers. The entire scale of research expenditures is rising, including increases for research centers. Federal expenditures for research and development at universities went from $14.3 billion in 1997 to $21.8 billion in 2002, a 50% increase or 10% a year, carrying with it a proportional increase for research centers.Â
"Several outstanding examples of universities that have changed to capture the benefits of having research centers include: the University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois Â Urbana, and Johns Hopkins University. The leading universities that support Life Sciences Centers account for well over 2/3rds of university-wide licenses and royalty income."
"Tens of billions of dollars of public funding for research centers carry demands that the research centers be accountable for the progress and outcomes of their work amid controversy about the wisdom of placing performance measures on science and scholarly achievement. The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 shifts the focus of decision-making, priorities for funding, management, and accountability for program and center activities from inputs to results and outcomes. It favors the introduction of performance measures and cross agency approaches to solution solving and priority setting. The GPRA requires that government agencies and center programs establish five-year strategic plans, annual plans, and reports measuring performance against results. Centers are encouraged to take part in case studies, self-assessments, contractor studies of outcomes, and monitoring systems."
Several key issues highlight demands for evaluation, namely:
- Widespread use of managed research.
- Changes within the university and its health system environments in regard to the value of research centers.
- Change in the emphasis of research from individual to group projects.
- The introduction of comparative performance and success indicators.
- Operational shift of research to globalism, consortia, and the use of large-scale databases and real time interactions such as by means of Internet2 and the Lambda Rail (optic fiber net).
"The notions of institutional based research are being replaced by post-modern global research activities that overlap multi-organizations and professional groupings. The previous relationships among universities, governments, industry, and professional groupings have given way to new corporate-university partnerships in a changing order of intellectual pursuit, discovery, social advancement and scientific-medical enterprise. The rising research organizations give challenge to existing university and scholarly department structures. All continue to exist but on changing planes and scale that require rethinking as never before in the history of science and academe. Since from within the sedentary structures of institutions, neo-organizations for research emerge in supra and parallel existence."
There are approximately 35,000 research centers in the U. S and internationally (Gale Directories of Research Centers); and, Google Internet search shows over 2 million listings for research consortia. For more information see http://ThePayoff. net (http://ThePayoff. net).
Evaluating Research Centers, Institutes,
Laboratories, and Consortia For Success
(A SciPolicy Special Edition - 2004 - Issn 1548-2944, 200 pages - Print and On-Line - http://scipolicy. net (http://scipolicy. net) or http://thepayoff. net (http://thepayoff. net))
Biographical information About the Authors of The Payoff Â Photos are attached:
Dr. William R. Tash is Professor of Sociology at Temple University, Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. He previously served as Vice Provost for Research at Temple University, Associate Dean for Research at the Graduate School at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Director of Evaluation and Operation Planning for the Health Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services. He and Jerald Stahler, Ph. D. completed a national survey for the National Science Foundation on University Industrial Research Centers. He has published several books on evaluation of health programs including MEASURING THE IMPACT OF HEALTH PROGRAMS (MIT Press) and INNOVATIONS IN MENTAL HEALTH EVALUATIONS(Academic Press).
Dr. Stephen Miles Sacks is a physical and social scientist-researcher of science and health policy. He is editor and publisher of SciPolicy - The Journal of Science and Health Policy. He was professor at Temple University, Rutgers-Camden-The State University of New Jersey and Drexel University. He was Professor/Director of Temple's Small Business Development Center and Entrepreneurship Institute. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University. Formerly, he was in public service in Pennsylvania State government as Manager of the Governor's Comprehensive Health Care Program, Assistant to the Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Counsel to the Committees on Health and Welfare and Consumer Protection, Policy Consultant to the Attorney General, Director of the Hospital Cost Project. He was also CEO of a polymeric development firm specializing in iodine germicides and high performance polymeric coatings and composites, and ski designs. He is the author of numerous articles and papers on health systems, science and technology industrial policy, including "The Hospital Cost Index" (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) and "The Case of the University of Pennsylvania Health System" (Scipolicy Journal).
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