U.S. Not Up to Par in Global Research Collaboration


U.S. university based research offices are being hampered by their isolation de facto, higher-education observers say.

According to the National Science Foundation, in an increasingly globalized research climate, nearly one in four research papers are written by multiple authors in different countries. Such is not the case with research institutions in the U.S., according to Karen A. Holbrook, former vice president for global affairs and international research at the University of South Florida.

“Either the research office needs an international section or the international office needs stronger research connections,” said Holbrook. “It’s an unfortunate gap.”

Another expert calling for change is Richard Nader, vice provost for international affairs at North Texas, who, early in his career, evaluated grant proposals at the National Science Foundation. Nader noted that many U.S. proposals fell short simply because they lacked the proper cultural context for their research.

A solution, according to both Holbrook and Nader, is an international office to facilitate research relationships. Eitherthe research office needs an international section or the international office needs stronger research connections,” said Holbrook.

Such a change in structure might circumvent the traditionally clunky organizational strctures of amny U.S. research institutions, which are often bogged down by turf wars, highly specialized research “silos” that aren’t conducive to collaboration, or, at its simplest, apathy.

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