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Supporting ‘future research leaders’ in Sweden: Institutional isomorphism and inadvertent funding agglomeration

Hallonsten, Olof LU and Hugander, Olof LU (2014) In Research Evaluation 23(3). p.249-260
Abstract
The most recent fashion in the policy-level promotion of excellence in academic research seems to be the launching of funding programs directed to young and promising (postdoc level) researchers with the purpose of assisting them in establishing their own research profile at this allegedly crucial and fragile career stage. In the Swedish public research funding system, which is rather diversified and also quite recently has been recast, a number of such programs have been launched in recent years by public and private actors alike, all with the stated ambition of providing funding to those typically in lack of the same. In this article, we discuss the rather striking uniformity of these programs on the basis of the concept of institutional... (More)
The most recent fashion in the policy-level promotion of excellence in academic research seems to be the launching of funding programs directed to young and promising (postdoc level) researchers with the purpose of assisting them in establishing their own research profile at this allegedly crucial and fragile career stage. In the Swedish public research funding system, which is rather diversified and also quite recently has been recast, a number of such programs have been launched in recent years by public and private actors alike, all with the stated ambition of providing funding to those typically in lack of the same. In this article, we discuss the rather striking uniformity of these programs on the basis of the concept of institutional isomorphism from neoinstitutional theory, which is a powerful conceptual tool with capacity to explain why organizations in the same field grow alike in their practices despite preconditions that would suggest otherwise. Analyzing qualitatively the stated purposes of the programs and the discursive shift that accompanies them in policy, and analyzing quantitatively the 130 recipients of funding from the programs, we show that there are agglomeration effects that are unintended but also expectable, given the nature of the funding landscape in Sweden and the institutional isomorphism among the organizations in the field. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
research funding, Sweden, institutional isomorphism, excellence
in
Research Evaluation
volume
23
issue
3
pages
249 - 260
publisher
Beech Tree Publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:84904299300
ISSN
0958-2029
DOI
10.1093/reseval/rvu009
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
b76f8514-04f5-4679-afc2-0de0456f128b (old id 4610432)
date added to LUP
2014-08-26 09:13:51
date last changed
2017-01-01 03:59:56
@article{b76f8514-04f5-4679-afc2-0de0456f128b,
  abstract     = {The most recent fashion in the policy-level promotion of excellence in academic research seems to be the launching of funding programs directed to young and promising (postdoc level) researchers with the purpose of assisting them in establishing their own research profile at this allegedly crucial and fragile career stage. In the Swedish public research funding system, which is rather diversified and also quite recently has been recast, a number of such programs have been launched in recent years by public and private actors alike, all with the stated ambition of providing funding to those typically in lack of the same. In this article, we discuss the rather striking uniformity of these programs on the basis of the concept of institutional isomorphism from neoinstitutional theory, which is a powerful conceptual tool with capacity to explain why organizations in the same field grow alike in their practices despite preconditions that would suggest otherwise. Analyzing qualitatively the stated purposes of the programs and the discursive shift that accompanies them in policy, and analyzing quantitatively the 130 recipients of funding from the programs, we show that there are agglomeration effects that are unintended but also expectable, given the nature of the funding landscape in Sweden and the institutional isomorphism among the organizations in the field.},
  author       = {Hallonsten, Olof and Hugander, Olof},
  issn         = {0958-2029},
  keyword      = {research funding,Sweden,institutional isomorphism,excellence},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {249--260},
  publisher    = {Beech Tree Publishing},
  series       = {Research Evaluation},
  title        = {Supporting ‘future research leaders’ in Sweden: Institutional isomorphism and inadvertent funding agglomeration},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvu009},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2014},
}