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DN Debate. The next government, learn from the Danish research policy

Our prosperity is dependent upon research that generates new knowledge. For the knowledge needed to produce goods, to combat poverty, reduce carbon footprint, spare the nature, cure diseases, as well as to understand the world we live in. The new government that eventually takes office thus has every reason to contemplate how research is best conducted.

there is much to learn from our surroundings, not the least of our neighbouring country, Denmark. Denmark has in recent times succeeded better than the other nordic countries when it comes to creating the conditions for successful world-class research.

is to look at how many times scientific papers are cited. It is a difficult measure when it comes to comparison between individuals, but works well in a comparison of whole universities or even whole countries. Measured in number of citations per article have a Danish research greater scientific impact than the Swedish.

Only two OECD countries have a higher share of the 10 per cent most cited articles than Denmark, while six countries before Sweden.

The scientific production is also high in Denmark. In terms of publications per million inhabitants, Denmark is second among OECD countries, after Switzerland, while Sweden comes in fourth place. Even in terms of number of publications per 1 000 researchers, is Denmark with a combination, against Sweden on place 17.

are certainly many. Danish politicians and decision makers seem to have understood the importance of excellent research and its importance to the nation's prosperity. From the 1990s, there was a sharp improvement of the conditions for universities, research and higher education, while the research councils were reformed. With the formation of the Danish Grundforskningsfond 1991 was successful research teams long-term financing with considerable freedom to develop bold ideas without the requirement for short-term benefit. Sustainable long-term funding, reliance on talented researchers, and to a great extent the absence of detailed governance has undoubtedly been the successful factors.

In Denmark were in 2007 25 research institutions merged into 11 – eight universities and three national research institutions – that is, a path opposite to the one chosen in Sweden. This has led to strong research environments and more competitive institutions. The university of copenhagen is in place 12 and the technical university of Denmark on the seat 23 when it lists the organizations that received the most funds from the EU framework programmes. The best of Sweden's Karolinska institute on the site 30.

We need academic leadership and the system that fosters creativity and bold ideas, and not leaders who are politically correct administrators.

Good resources is another reason for the Danish success.

Denmark is the country in OECD which, in terms of percentage of GDP, invests the most in public research funds, 1.1 per cent. This is, however, also Sweden good to 1%, and Sweden is ahead of Denmark when it comes to privately funded research.

Denmark has, together with Switzerland and the Netherlands were the most successful in terms of recruitment of top scientists and Danish universities at the disposal of a greater proportion of research funds than the Swedish. Denmark has also refrained from the career system, which has resulted in overcrowding of under-funded professors at universities in Sweden and Norway.

the Danish Research and innovation policy advice has analysed the reasons for the Danish success and made comparisons with the Netherlands and Sweden. It highlights a research system adapted to the circumstances, successful excellenssatsningar and a strong leadership focus on quality.

The report said that Sweden during this period have had less favourable conditions for elite research than the other two countries, among other things, due to the large dependence on external funding which has made it difficult for universities to manage their research and their recruitment. Short-term research grants, small grants, and the dissemination on the many people in the uk had a detrimental effect on the forskningskvaliteten.

the benefit of the best innovations and new business? From the business community is raised often voices that argue that the emphasis on applied research leads to innovations that can be translated into new products and thereby national prosperity. But is it true? New applications can usually not be anticipated and the period between a new discovery and potential applications are often very long. Numerous examples from history show that it is rather bet on the basic research of high quality which is the best breeding ground for new innovations and new companies.

The Danish trade association Danish Industry seems to realize this and argue for that funding to Grundforskningsfonden, as the only fund basic research of high scientific quality, need to be duplicated in order to Denmark to be developed.

to further strengthen the quality of research are now being prepared in Denmark a new excellenssatsning. Research and the ministry of education has decided to finance the initiative through a supplement to the Grundforskningsfonden corresponding to approximately sek 275 million Swedish kronor, and in addition, funds from private foundations apply. The government has been responsive to input from the scientific community and the initiative has been designed in consultation with researchers and universities.

is not excellent researchers. However, these need to be given good and long-term basic resources and the freedom to attack key scientific and societal issues, rather than be controlled by politicians and governments is a weakness of strategic initiatives. We also need academic leadership and the system that fosters creativity and bold ideas, and not leaders who are politically correct administrators. The needed renewal in the form of young scientists and good conditions to the best researchers throughout their careers, and this would also increase the opportunities to attract foreign talent to the country.

however, This requires a concentration of resources to the strong environments and that research funding is essentially distributed according to only the quality. Listen to the researchers – without them we will not get the world-class research.

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