The challenge of managing boundary-spanning research activities: Experiences from the Swedish context
Contemporary and future challenges when managing research involve coping with emerging prerequisites which include, among other things, a new knowledge production discourse, new research funding methods and new ways for international collaboration. Managers for boundary-spanning research activities need to combine the sometimes opposing logics and perspectives of the multiple stakeholders--the individual researchers searching for independence, sustainability and freedom and others searching for integration, relevance and predictability. Based on a collaborative research set-up including interviews, discussions and workshops with major Swedish research funding agencies, research program managers, experienced industry partners and key stakeholders, the paper identifies six main managerial challenges: (i) lack of focus on research management and unsatisfying prerequisites, (ii) weak identity and low status of the role of the research managers, (iii) few incentives for research management, (iv) lack of leadership development opportunities for researchers, (v) multiple (and sometimes contradictory) expectations from different stakeholders, and (vi) sustained funding. Finally, the managerial implications of these challenges for universities and funding agencies are discussed.
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