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The effects of funding policies on academic research

Grove, Lynda (2017) The effects of funding policies on academic research. Doctoral thesis, University College London.

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Academics today are under increasing institutional pressure to win external research funding, at a time when such funding is becoming ever more targeted and policy driven. This thesis explores the effects of this and other funding policy constraints on academics’ freedom to carry out the research that they believe is intrinsically important – their choices over what research they conduct, and their ability to do so. In particular, it considers the effects of increasing pressure from funders that the research they fund should demonstrate both societal relevance and impact, and fit with either the funders’ or government priorities. The study took an inductive approach, and is based on interviews conducted with a number of academics across a range of disciplines and institutions (both research intensive and newer institutions).The study finds that academic research today - and thus knowledge production itself - is being pulled in competing directions due to pressures to satisfy the requirements of both the Research Excellence Framework and today’s ‘impact agenda’, elements which require different types of research activity and skills. Furthermore, using a Bourdieusian framework, we see that the impact agenda has changed the stakes in the field, as ‘demonstrable impact’ becomes a sought-after form of capital, causing a potential crisis for hitherto dominant agents (Bourdieu’s ‘hysteresis’ effect). The findings also indicate the extent to which funding policies have resulted in an emphasis on impact and income as what is seemingly most valued by institutions and other stakeholders, rather than the intrinsic academic merit of the research itself.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: A General Works > AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2018 11:05
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 09:29

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