Finding Research Stars Through the Australian Science, Technology and Research Assessment and Beyond

Sunday, 16 February 2014
Columbus KL (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Paul Jensen , University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Understanding the keys to the productivity of the innovation process is fundamental to addressing the global challenges currently facing the world. By 'productivity of the innovation process', we mean understanding the various mechanisms (and policies) which might enhance the creation and diffusion of knowledge. For many of the wicked challenges facing the world - such as the spectre of climate change - it is crucial that we not only create green technologies but that we increase the speed with which they are adopted by individuals, households and firms. As part of the Australian Science, Technology and Research Assessment (ASTRA), we have examined one commonly-used mechanism used by governments and universities to improve the productivity of the innovation process: rewarding star researchers. The rationale for such schemes is that, by freeing up researchers star researchers from teaching and administrative duties, they can allocate more of their scarce time to valuable research issues. Moreover, star researchers can improve the quality of student/postdoc training, attract extra (industry) funds, participate on other research grant applications and raise the productivity of their peers within the university. In this paper, we observe all of those researchers (Australian and international) who applied for one of a range of Fellowships designed for 'star researchers'. Using this unique dataset enables us to quantify the effects of being granted one of the Fellowships, thereby evaluating one of the chief policies designed to promote Australian research productivity