Growing Research:Challenges for Late Developers and Newcomers

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Across OECD countries, governments, policy makers and university managers are examining the future of higher education and questioning the role of educational research. These discussions are taking place against the backdrop that knowledge production and the contribution of higher education to the economy and the prestige and standing of nations is rapidly transforming the once benign higher education system into a competitive market place. Moreover, many governments believe the existing system of funding and/or organisation is no longer sustainable. Should research funding be spread equitably across many institutions or should only a few concentrate on research and the rest focus on teaching and training? If massification was a major force on higher education in OECD countries in the latter half of the 20th century, then competition driven in part by institutional research capacity is playing a similar role in the early 21st century. These forces are influencing in a very directive way how individual institutions are organising and managing themselves. This article looks at the specific challenges faced by new and emerging higher education institutions of growing research from a "fragile base". In the process, their experiences raise wider questions for both higher education institutions and governments