Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Good in the Lab, but Bad at Making Firm Friends

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Good in the Lab, but Bad at Making Firm Friends

Article excerpt

Principal investigators on large research projects do not have the necessary skills to foster strong relationships between the academy and business, according to a council member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Speaking at a conference in London on 12 December, John Howkins, a visiting professor at City University's Centre for Cultural Policy and Management, lamented researchers' lack of experience in managing large teams and huge budgets.

"We have found increasingly that when we fund a big research effort, the principal investigators are interacting with the business community and there is a problem in (their) skills," Professor Howkins said.

He added that there was a "skills gap" which meant that although principal investigators were academically very well qualified, they often did not have managerial or financial skills.

Big projects may have a budget of Pounds 6 million or Pounds 7 million, which requires principal investigators "to manage a rather extraordinary and ad hoc combination of people from academia, business and non-profit (sectors)", Professor Howkins told delegates at the Westminster Media Forum seminar, entitled The UK's Creative Economy: Creating the Conditions for Growth. …

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