Doing something new in the Netherlands: The impact of research organisations and funding agencies on the start of new research lines
The scope of opportunities for researchers to change their lines of research is crucial for the performance of science systems. These changes themselves vary in terms of their impact on the field - from local changes to field-level changes (scientific innovations) and from low-cost to high-cost changes. Opportunities for changes strongly depend on formal organisations because they control many conditions of research. When researchers want to start new lines of research two types of formal organizations are particularly important in allocating resources and reputation: the research organization and external funding agencies. Both organisations co-shape the protected space a researcher has in this situation. Using data from three empirical projects, I explore the use of the concepts ‘protected space’ and ‘ease of access to resources’ as tools for comparatively analysing opportunities for changes of lines of research undertaken by researchers at Dutch universities in three disciplines. The results show that the scope of sufficient protected space is small, i.e. that conditions for changing lines of research were often insufficient. The overall conclusion is that the Dutch research system tends to delay the start of new lines of research for most researchers but a few members of the elite. The lack of protected space can be traced back to the influences of both types of formal organisations.
Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 3ª (Salón de Actos. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n
Grit Laudel is a sociologist whose main interests are the sociology of science and qualitative methodology. Since March 2010, She has been working at the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) of the University of Twente. Her empirical research focuses on the impact of institutions on the content of research, i.e. on a question that links the sociology of science to science policy studies.