University research

    The factors that determine the quality of universities' research and how prolific they are.

    The quality and amount of a university's research is linked to three factors, a new study reports. These are research funding; ability to decide on its own programmes, hires and budgets; and the level of competition it faces for resources, faculty and students. The Governance and Performance of Research Universities: Evidence from Europe and the US, a draft by the non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research, states that if one of the three is missing, research output and quality drops. More research spending spurs more patents if universities are autonomous and have to compete for grants, faculty and students — but whether the relationship is causal or correlative is unclear. Proximity to regions of high innovation and productivity also raises the quality and amount of a university's research output, the report finds.

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    University research. Nature 458, 1207 (2009).

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