Promoting excellence is an explicit goal in European and national research systems. As a result, various excellence-marked initiatives have been established across Europe. However, recent empirical studies and monitoring exercises outlined below show that these excellence initiatives have been more beneficial for male than female researchers. Moreover, this applies to excellence initiatives from organisations or countries with gender equality plans and monitoring practices in place. It even applies in countries with long-term gender equality interventions backed up by political will, such as countries in the Nordic region. Read more [...]
Europe is a small continent populated by a range of small countries. Several of the smaller, high-income countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland are rightly recognised for producing and exploiting their high quality research. Other smaller countries, however, have tended to receive less attention despite being potentially as effective or even more so compared to their larger counterparts. They are nevertheless keen to demonstrate their standing relative to their size or resources. Such assessments are important, given that the quality of the research base is increasingly employed as an indication of a sector or country’s reputation and ability to compete successfully in the global economy. Read more [...]
Last April, leading researchers, politicians and key players in European research funding discussed how Europe can finance and provide optimal conditions for excellent research. They adopted the so-called “Aarhus Declaration” which states that “when aiming for excellence, one should aim at the stars: a new knowledge which changes paradigms, invents new fields and opens opportunities for broad societal consequences.” Increasingly, European Union and national funding is anchored around the idea of excellence in research. But what exactly is excellence? Is this yardstick a fair measure of a scientist’s work? Questions are being raised about whether this distorts the research landscape in Europe. Read more [...]
European science conversations by the community, for the community
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