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Talent Proof

25 April 2013
Selection Processes in Research Funding and Careers.
Grant application pressure Academic careers
The quality of higher education and research is strongly connected to the quality of the people working in the academic sector. For excellent science, excellent scientists are needed. The pool of competent scholars with academic career ambitions has been growing for the past decades. As public funding of universities has not matched this rise of (potential) staff, academics have become more dependent on competitive external project funding and individual funding. Publishing and grant proposal writing are two activities of major importance for especially early career researcher who aim to advance in academia. Funding organizations therefore play a crucial role in the development of academic careers, next to universities that increasingly focus on attracting and retaining academic top talent. The research questions of this study, ‘What is academic talent and how is it selected?’ aim to create a better understanding of the process of talent selection within academia, especially in the context of grant allocation.




Key results of this study address the criteria used in talent assessment and more specifically the weight assigned to publications; the social and competitive nature of grant allocation processes; the role of gender in talent selection and gender differences in academic performance; and factors supporting or impeding academic careers.

This study feeds current debates on scientific quality and the growing competition for funding and academic positions with empirical arguments. It refl ects on the existing mechanisms of talent selection and ends with a discussion on the implications for higher education and science policyto uphold and stimulate academic talent.


Preferred citation:
van Arensbergen, P., Talent Proof: Selection Processes in Research Funding and Careers,
Den Haag, Rathenau Instituut 2014