The excellence question

Advertisement

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

PHOTO: SAINSBURY LABORATORY, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGEFive months ago, when I stepped into my new role as the chief executive officer of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) organization, a question loomed large for me: What is excellence? After all, UKRI is the major public funder of science in the United Kingdom, spending billions of taxpayer money every year. To spend this money well, UKRI must support a portfolio of truly excellent work. So, what then is excellence?Some years ago, I was contacted about a plan to establish a new research journal. I was asked, “Where do you submit your best work for publication?” To answer this, I had to define my best work. I ought to know how to do that, having served on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science, which aims to publish the very best research across the sciences. In that role, I considered whether the work constituted a major advance and if it was of interest to a wide audience. In a similar vein, the European Research Council, which has had an extraordinary impact on research funding in Europe, uses “excellence” as the sole criterion for funding. Instructions for panel members who evaluate proposals define …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE