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Research and Higher Education Policy Implications of Complex International Collaborations

Globalisation
Governance
Institutions
Policy Analysis
Public Policy
International
Higher Education
Teresa Patricio
ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute
Teresa Patricio
ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute

Abstract

This Paper examines the outcomes of the Portuguese government policy initiative to construct an international program between US universities (MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Texas, Austin) and Portuguese universities by examining research collaborations in R&D funded projects in STEM fields. The aim is to understand the formation, organization and sustainability of international collaborations by looking at R&D projects as dynamic forms of structured teamwork. We focus on the process of research collaborations by concentrating on the personal trajectories of the main researchers so as to contextualize a before and after of the international program. This comparative methodology highlights differences in programs, forms of organization, and sustainability. The methodology used was a mixed methods approach that combined different forms of data collection, both qualitative and quantitative, and applied them to two samples (the universe of researchers in the program (n=48), and the universe of researchers in the general call of the Portuguese funding agency, in the same years and in the same fields (n= 210)). Data was collected on the trajectories of the researchers, their international experience and the forms of collaboration in the projects they coordinated, and the impacts of their research. The combination of the different methodologies allows a more substantive approach to the question of networks, the social processes and the implications of the policy. The results reveal that these research networks promote the internationalization of universities and researchers, increasingly defined as a prescriptive and normative achievement of national and international scientific policies, and that the partnerships also create programmatic poles of aggregation to other institutions and social actors in an effort to create new networks within the scientific field.