In 2004 the Ministry of Education and Science in Bulgaria, in partnership with Rose & Crangle, Ltd in the United States, submitted an Advanced Research Workshop proposal to NATO for the express purpose of exploring how the Bulgarian research, development and policy communities could more closely integrate their science policy and research evaluation practices with those of other European and NATO countries. How do various nations evaluate research and development projects? How do they evaluate the effectiveness of the institutions which sponsor or conduct such projects? How do they set priorities for their science and technology efforts and institutions? From a historical perspective, how have these developments occurred? What methods are countries planning to use to guide their future scientific growth?
During the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics era, the Republics and their aligned nations were assigned responsibilities for areas of economic concentration on behalf of the entire Soviet bloc. These obligations included the pursuit of explicit areas of fundamental scientific research, technology development and any subsequent and related manufacturing operations.
Academies of science were adapted or newly created to have near-total control of most fundamental science research facilities and staffs. Through the research institute model they often also controlled many of the required support roles for their mission areas, as well as follow-on technology development and manufacturing. They received budgets directly from government appropriations. The head of a research institute had great authority – often total authority – to not only suballocate the budgeted funds to research programs and projects assigned to that institute, but also to appoint staff to conduct specific projects and negotiate in-kind agreements with other institutes to obtain supplies.
Soviet bloc universities were not generally assigned significant research responsibilities or budgets. Education and research were managed as separate activities (unlike the North American research university model). Individual university professors were not paid to do research, had very limited research facilities and equipment, and were often not allowed to compete for research projects as part of their university responsibilities. Three generations of scientists were deeply affected by this Soviet research system.
The collapse of the integrated regional command and control economy disrupted or severed many of these established relationships and operations. Research budgets were slashed. Academies lost important staff; they could not adequately maintain facilities and equipment or obtain supplies. Research projects were restricted or cancelled and entire research groups were disbanded in whole or part. Intellectual relationships were interrupted. Travel to international conferences and access to leading scientific publications became a luxury.
Since 1990 the newly independent states and other affected nations have been rebuilding research and development activities as part of their economic recoveries. The conviction of the scientific and technical community, shared also by most of the political leadership and ordinary citizens of Europe, is that amazing, inexorable bonds connect past scientific triumphs with today's improving social and economic situation. They believe today's investments in science and technology will pay off for them in the future.
Rebuilding efforts have been accompanied by planning activities which consider new and different mechanisms to agree on national research budgets. University-based research has become an important reality. Academies and their institutes have had to set priorities among their remaining activities. New international research partnerships have been formed, and are increasingly common.
It remains a hard reality that only limited governmental funds are available for research investments in the region. National transportation and communications systems for security, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and other purposes demand huge budgets. Health and housing needs are immense. Education for the young and pensions for the old are expensive propositions. Fundamental research is at the table, but seldom has a favored place unless it appears to be essential for military or popular social purposes.
The struggles to regain research prominence occur in a world characterized by change and new challenges. The Asian economic powerhouses, the European Community and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are in growth modes. All modern societies are enhancing their science and technology bases. The supply of competent researchers and the costs of doing research are increasing rapidly around the globe. In addition, regional and local conflicts have adversely affected some states.
Against this historic backdrop the Bulgarian science policy framework has been briskly moving forward. In 2003 the Bulgarian Council of Ministers approved a national scientific programme and appointed the Minister of Education and Science to coordinate it. Also in 2003 the National Assembly passed the Law on Scientific Research Promotion, which declared scientific research to be a national priority which required both a strategy and a funding mechanism. In 2005 the Council of Ministers adopted a Strategy for Scientific Research Development.
As part of the development of Bulgarian science policy a team from Bulgaria, headed by Albena Vutsova, visited the United States in October, 2003. As part of its review of US practices in science and technology the team members spent time with the US National Science Foundation and attended its Program Management Seminar. This Seminar was conducted by Rose & Crangle, Ltd, a contractor to the National Science Foundation.
In 2004 the Ministry of Education and Science in Bulgaria, in partnership with Rose & Crangle, Ltd in the United States, submitted an Advanced Research Workshop proposal to NATO for the express purpose of exploring how the Bulgarian research, development and policy communities could more closely integrate their science policy and research evaluation practices with those of other European and NATO countries.
The proposal was accepted. The workshop was conducted in May, 2005, at the Grand Hotel Murgavets in the beautiful mountain community of Pamporovo, Bulgaria. It proved to be a popular event. Over sixty speakers and participants eventually attended the programme, coming from at least seventeen nations, NATO headquarters and the European Commission.
The focus was evaluation. How do various nations evaluate research and development projects? How do they evaluate the effectiveness of the institutions which sponsor or conduct such projects? How do they set priorities for their science and technology efforts and institutions? From an historical perspective, how have these developments occurred? What methods are countries planning to use to guide their future scientific growth?
These and related themes were addressed by the speakers. Discussions continued informally – but often passionately – during breaks in the proceedings. The programme for the Workshop, together with the names of the primary speakers and many of the attendees, are provided in an Appendix to this volume.
Common themes emerged. There was very great agreement on the importance of science and technology to the economies of Bulgaria, the region, NATO nations and the entire world. There was agreement that the role of the government is critical in supporting basic, fundamental research which can not, will not, or should not be undertaken purely by private companies and organizations. There was agreement that public resources in even the wealthiest nations are limited. Consequently, there was agreement that choices must be made not only among the priority areas which compete for investment funds, but also the specific fundamental research projects proposed within each such priority area. Choices must also be made as to which organizations are best suited to conduct the investigations.
The workshop presentations often suggested that the most significant societal returns on research investments are attained by funding specific projects and principal investigators, rather than by following the Soviet tradition of budgeting institutions. Proposal evaluations appear to be most useful when both the apparent intellectual merit of a proposal and the likelihood that the proposal can provide broader and favorable national impacts are taken into account.
Bulgarian science and technology leaders (from government ministries, the Academy, universities and private companies) who attended the workshop engaged science policy leaders from fifteen other European nations as well as the United States and NATO. This had an immediate and beneficial impact on the ongoing discussions concerning research evaluation practices and science policy within Bulgaria.
A Bulgarian consensus is emerging about how fundamental research projects are to be selected for funding. A similar consensus may be emerging about how programs and institutions should be evaluated for their effectiveness in selecting research projects. The Workshop has been an important milestone in this journey.
The papers included in this volume were prepared, and in some cases further edited, by the workshop speakers. It is fortunate that most speakers were able to provide full manuscripts. In other cases the editor has attempted to summarize excellent PowerPoint presentations which did not have an associated manuscript. No attempt has been made to include full PowerPoint presentations, but upon being contacted it is probable that speakers would gladly share these with interested persons.
The articles have undergone final editing as to style. As the editor of this compendium I take full responsibility for any errors which I may have introduced in preparing the articles for publication, and especially in preparation of summaries of PowerPoint presentations.
There is one final important matter I must address. I express my gratitude, and the appreciation of all of the workshop speakers and participants, to Lora Pavlova of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science. She and her staff worked tirelessly to prepare for and administer the workshop, and to bring it to a successful conclusion. Lora deserves a huge amount of credit for all that she accomplished.
Economic and social realities have changed significantly during the last decades and created for policy makers a number of dilemmas. Research and innovation occur in networks rather than in separate RTD entities. More policy relevant research and innovation applications affect wider society. The changing socio economic framework and recent RTD trends further foster the need for well designed approaches to evaluation assessments. The systematic evaluation process can be interpreted as a good governance practices in itself.
There is never enough money to pay all the costs of all aspects of research in all fields of study. Most costs of fundamental research are borne by government budgets. The political competition for governmental funds is intense. Adequate governmental support of the costs of fundamental research depends heavily on the demonstrated results of past research investments. The past record of a research-performing institution depends upon the cumulative successes of its individual principal investigators who have conducted specific projects. Project selection mechanisms affect the eventual record of accomplishment at the individual, and therefore institutional, level. The most effective evaluation mechanism is peer review at the individual research project – principal investigator level. Peer review must be provided by other active researchers in the same field who do not work at the same institution or otherwise have a conflict of interest.
There are a number of international funding sources supporting joint scientific activities. One of the most efficient is the NATO Science Committee. In the last few years its programs placed emphasis primarily on the following priority areas: Disarmament technologies; Environmental security; High technologies; Science and technology policy; Computer networking. Recently a set of Priority Research Topics has been identified in three areas: Defense against Terrorism, Countering Other Threats to Security and Partner Country Priorities. One of the main goals is to assist Partner Countries in their transition towards market-oriented, environmentally sound economy. The national awards in the period 1993–2004 are given and their characteristics discussed. Some conclusions for the future cooperation are drawn.
Accountability is a matter of using trusted money in ways that corresponds to your “contract” with those who pay. In other words, some use of money is wrong, some is right. There is a technical, bureaucratic element of accountability that has to do with establishing good account systems, audits etc, in order to avoid fraud. And, there is a normative, purpose-oriented, element, which has to do with what we use the money for. This paper will focus on the purpose-oriented side of the concept, and will try to point at some practices that could make it possible to establish procedures about this element.
The discussion of evaluation in the education sector, that is the systematic assessment of organization structures, teaching and learning processes, and performance criteria aimed at quality improvement, has started in Germany much later than in other European countries. It can be stated that quality assurance activities in teaching become more and more significant in German universities. With regard to limiting public budgets also, evaluation of research programs and institutions are of growing importance. This paper gives a brief overview of the state of the art of evaluation procedures in the German science system. In order to better classify this information, the development and state of the art of evaluation in general in Germany is described first.
Ireland's success during the 1990's, which earned the label “The Celtic Tiger,” may seem as if it came out of nowhere. But it took years of investment and strategic planning for Ireland to become one of the world's fastest-growing countries. Ireland's current investments in research, innovation, and technological development likewise promise to provide great future rewards. Actually, the most promising fact about Ireland's focus on research and development, including through the institution I serve, Science Foundation Ireland, may be the strengths upon which it is building, strengths established long before the Celtic Tiger seemed magically to emerge.
This is a review of the Norwegian Model of identifying research opportunities, evaluating research programs, and insuring that the national system is accountable both to the public and to the scientific community. It includes a review of national science policy as well as how individual proposals are evaluated and how research results are published.
In Romania, the research and development units are the following: national institutes for research, development and innovation which, for the majority, are coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Research; research centres within the universities; research institutes under the Romanian Academy's coordination; institutes under the coordination of other Ministries such as the Ministry of Economy, or the Ministry of Agriculture; institutes organized as commercial companies; and SMEs. The financial instruments used by the Ministry of Education and Research to finance the research activities are: Grants, National Plan for Research, Development and Innovation, Core programmes, Sectoral Plans and INFRATECH Programme. These programmes are open for all the certificated research units (public or private). Very few programmes are coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Research. Coordination of the other programmes is gained, following the competition, by other organisations which function as contracting authorities for the particular programme.
This paper reviews the Russian development and refinement of national priority areas and critical technologies in the recent past. It discusses in some detail the contents of each critical technology and its potential for innovation and contribution to the national goals in a situation of constrained resources. The paper concludes with a review of the systems in place to evaluate S&T and innovation activities from the national to the individual levels and the directions in which such systems are expected to develop further.
O. Z. Cebeci, S. Genc, A. Kerc, H. Karatas, A. Feyzioglu, F. Coskun, O. Ozpeynirci, B. Dikmen, G. Kozanoglu
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This paper summarizes the systematic approach followed by The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) for the evaluation and selection of research project proposals grouped into three categories: (1) curiosity driven academic research, and (2) customer driven applied research, both in universities and research institutions, and (3) technological and innovation driven research conducted by private industry. The details of the phrase-anchored rating scale that has been established are explained.
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) was established in 1950. Since that time it has continuously advanced its methods for evaluation at all levels: evaluation of proposals submitted to fund the work of individual researchers, groups of researchers and major centers; evaluation of NSF internal programs; evaluation of NSF internal administrative directorates; and evaluation of the NSF as a whole. The NSF evaluation systems rely heavily on the knowledge, skills and abilities of individuals who are expert in the subject matter or organization being reviewed, and who volunteer their time as a part of their service to the research community to improve the health of science.
This paper discusses the broader implications of research in the social and behavioral sciences funded by the United States National Science Foundation. A history of the establishment of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences is presented and the role of basic and applied research at the National Science Foundation is discussed. Contributions to the Nation from economics, sociology, geography, political science and other disciplines are presented. The argument is made that the National Science Foundation has enabled the social and behavioral sciences to flourish and they have provided society with scientific knowledge and expertise of relevance to policy makers.
This paper presents an overview U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) structure and current major research interests, with special emphasis on crosscutting research programs and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE).
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