Fostering Breakthrough Research: A Comparative Study (www.kva.se)

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1 Fostering Breakthrough Research: A Comparative Study (www.kva.se) Gunnar Öquist och Mats Benner Aim: To answer why Swedish research is loosing international competitiveness.

2 Top 10%-index Development of the top 10 %-index between 1990 and 2011 for Sweden and five reference countries. 1.4 Denmark Netherlands Switzerland Norway Sweden Finland For comparison the national mean citation rate is shown as a grey curve and the grey horizontal line shows the world average. The curves are based on 3-year moving averages.

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4 Relative frequency Frequency distribution of the top10%-index for all organisations producing at least 50 publications per year. Dark blue = universities and university hospitals, light blue other organisations (mainly institutes, hospitals and businesses). All organisations with an index above 2 is shown in the rightmost bar 0.2 Denmark (N=12) Finland (N=17) Netherlands (N=31) Sweden (N=26) Switzerland (N=23) Norway (N=15) Top 10%-index

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6 Relative renewal rate Renewal rate versus impact in 48 journal subject fields. The 48 fields are selected based on size (the largest fields) Denmark Finland Netherlands Sweden 3.0 Switzerland United Kingdom Top 10%-index

7 Differences do not depend on: -Different proportion of publications not receiving any citations. -Different ratio between national and international authors on publications. -Different degree of collaboration with other countries. -Different degree of interdisciplinarity. -Different degree of self citation. -Different proportions between subject areas.

8 Why are Finland, Norway and Sweden playing in a lower division than Denmark, The Netherlands and Switzerland? The political ambition is academic excellence at the global level in all countries, but why are some countries performing better than other? It is not a question of money it is a question on how the money are used.

9 To answer WHY we took a 20 year historical perspective -Priority-setting at national level -Governance of universities -Direction and funding of research

10 Staff Gunnar Öquist, Chair Mats Benner, LU, Secretary General Olle Persson, UmU, Bibliometry Staffan Karlsson, VR, Bibliometry Analysis group Thierry Courvoisier, Switzerland Ole Fejerskov, Denmark Eila Helander, Finland Jos van der Meer, The Netherlands Christian Broberger Gunnar von Heijne Arne Johansson Anna-Karin Tornberg Barbro Åsman

11 Denmark - catching up and staying ahead -Strengthened academic leadership at all levels; focus on building creative environments. -Relatively good career opportunities for young researchers; could be further improved. -Emphasis on international recruitments. -Strong focus on project and program support initiated by individuals with novel ideas. -Financing bodies with clear profiles: free basic research, strategic research, research and innovation. -Danish National Research Foundation -Complementary roles of universities and funding agencies -Ratio university block funding/external funding 60/40. -A culture of academic elitism.

12 Sweden a research system with structural problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -A relative decrease of investigator initiated projects/program. -An increased support to strong environments, strategic areas and networks. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -Weak academic leadership at all levels; tendency to chose managers rather than strong academic leaders (scholars). -External funding strong effect on university prioritizations ( research hotels ) -More and more faculty positions on external funding. -Ratio university block funding/external funding < 50/50.

13 Finland - a model in crisis After the economic crises early 1990, a massive investment in research and innovation: impressive development -Strengthening of the role of TEKES and the Finnish Academy. -Big CoE TEKES programs for research and innovation in strategic fields, clusters. -Finnish Academy cutting edge environments. -Reformed PhD education. -International evaluations. -Weak support of individual proposals; people with novel ideas. -Weak support of individual careers. -Weak international exchange; career and recruitment conditions not competitive. -Universities very dependent on external funding; university block funding/external funding 40/60. -National research policy linked to economy rather than academic values. -Autonomy reform?

14 Nordic research systems with problems

15 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals.

16 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility.

17 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers.

18 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -University resources tied up in positions; stagnant universities.

19 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -University resources tied up in positions; stagnant universities. -Too little emphasis on investigator initiated projects/program; too little focus on people with new ideas.

20 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -University resources tied up in positions; stagnant universities. -Too little emphasis on investigator initiated projects/program; too little focus on people with new ideas. -An increased support to strong environments, strategic areas and networks.

21 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -University resources tied up in positions; stagnant universities. -Too little emphasis on investigator initiated projects/program; too little focus on people with new ideas. -An increased support to strong environments, strategic areas and networks. -Weak academic leadership at all levels; tendency to chose managers rather than strong academic leaders (scholars).

22 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -University resources tied up in positions; stagnant universities. -Too little emphasis on investigator initiated projects/program; too little focus on people with new ideas. -An increased support to strong environments, strategic areas and networks. -Weak academic leadership at all levels; tendency to chose managers rather than strong academic leaders (scholars). -External funding strong effect on university prioritizations ( research hotels ).

23 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -University resources tied up in positions; stagnant universities. -Too little emphasis on investigator initiated projects/program; too little focus on people with new ideas. -An increased support to strong environments, strategic areas and networks. -Weak academic leadership at all levels; tendency to chose managers rather than strong academic leaders (scholars). -External funding strong effect on university prioritizations ( research hotels ). -More and more faculty positions on external funding.

24 Nordic research systems with problems -Universities with heterogeneous tasks in education and research, often with conflicting goals. -Weak recruitment policies causes inbreeding; loss of mobility. -Very weak career system for young researchers. -University resources tied up in positions; stagnant universities. -Too little emphasis on investigator initiated projects/program; too little focus on people with new ideas. -An increased support to strong environments, strategic areas and networks. -Weak academic leadership at all levels; tendency to chose managers rather than strong academic leaders (scholars). -External funding strong effect on university prioritizations ( research hotels ). -More and more faculty positions on external funding. -Ratio university block funding/external funding < 50/50.

25 Key factors to foster academic excellence Universities: -Define broad profiles. -Strong academic leadership with focus on academic excellence in establishing creative environments. Strategies -Full control of recruitment; high on the agenda. -Good career opportunities, emphasise mobility. -Provide good core funding upon recruitment. -No faculty positions on fluctuating external funding. -Review regularly and prioritize towards excellence. -Floor funding/external funding > 3/2

26 Key factors to foster academic excellence Granting agencies: -Complementary to universities. -External, competitive funding with long term perspectives; clear, complementary missions (free research, strategic research, innovation). -Broad programmes when strategic and formulated top-down. -Never let relevance outcompete scientific quality. -CoE:s integrated into profiles of universities. -Support individuals (environments) with novel ideas; high risk high gain.

27 Universities must by use of these measures take the responsibility in fostering excellence.

28 Universities must by use of these measures take the responsibility in fostering excellence. Granting agencies can help by being catalytic but their role is first of all to boost creative environments established by the universities through recruitment and prioritization of their own resources.

29 Can our Nordic mass universities also foster excellence at the highest international level?

30 Can our Nordic mass universities also foster excellence at the highest international level? Yes! Denmark has done it with a combination of a strengthen academic leadership, an emphasise of excellence in recruitment and a determined long term, competitive support of individuals with novel ideas.

31 Thank you for your attention!

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