Youthful Science, Useful Science

What Might the Next Generation of Researchers Bring to Science and Society If Adequately Supported?

Quality education and support of the next generation of highly skilled professionals are current policy priorities. What does this mean, however, in terms of the concrete measures and institutional arrangements that affect doctoral students and young researchers? How should their work be appropriately valued and evaluated in order for them to substantially contribute to research, innovation and society in general? What is the best approach to steering and supporting sustainable career pathways and mobilities?
The conference will feature invited keynotes by Sarah de Rijcke (University of Leiden) on the (e)valuation of research and by Ruth Müller (Technical University Munich) on the academic careers of young researchers, followed by panel debates on these topics with the aim of contextualising international developments, experiences and inspirations in and for the Czech Republic.
Doctoral students and young researchers are particularly welcome to attend.

The event is organised by the ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ group supported under Strategy AV 21.
The event will be held in English without translation. Participation is free but space is limited. To book your place email tereza.stockelova@soc.cas.cz by no later than 7 December.

PROGRAMME
9:30–10:00 Registration
10:00 Welcome
10:10–12:10 Responsible Research Evaluation: The Leiden Manifesto and Its Aftermath
Keynote by Sarah de Rijcke followed by a panel debate
12:10–13:00 lunch and networking
13:00–15:00 Science, Fast and Slow: Performance Metrics and the Acceleration of Academic Careers
Keynote by Ruth Müller followed by a panel debate

KEYNOTE TALKS: TITLES AND ABSTRACTS

Responsible Research Evaluation: The Leiden Manifesto and Its Aftermath
Sarah de Rijcke
New forms of evaluation are reconfiguring science in ways we are only beginning to understand. This keynote will address how public sector transformations are currently introducing highly particular notions of ‘good’ performance and uses of evaluative metrics in academic settings. In the talk, I will suggest ways to think more creatively and responsibly about the affordances of evaluation and indicators. For this purpose, I will start from the Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics and its effects on concrete research policy practices. The Leiden Manifesto represents a serious public-face interpretation of the technical area of performance metrics. It addresses a broad international audience tasked with assessing research performance, with the ultimate goal of assuring responsible metrics. In the talk, I will unpack the term ‘responsibility’ in ‘responsible metrics’ and argue how the term acts as a political and ethical referent in promoting social, sensible and conscientious evaluation and metrics – opening up ways of conceptualising and doing evaluation and metrics that have not yet been considered or are currently being foreclosed.
Sarah de Rijcke is Associate Professor and Deputy Director at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University. In Leiden she leads a research group that analyses academic evaluation processes, changing research cultures, knowledge infrastructures, and the roles of research in and for society.

Science, Fast and Slow: Performance Metrics and the Acceleration of Academic Careers
Ruth Müller
In recent years, the temporalities of academic work have undergone significant transformations. One key feature of these changes is a perceived acceleration of working pace. While this phenomenon is widely acknowledged in the scholarship about the transforming university, to date there are only a few studies investigating its empirical details. Building on qualitative interviews with postdoctoral researchers in the life sciences in Austria, this talk discusses how researchers who inhabit relatively fragile institutional positions experience the temporalities of their work and career practices: why, to what end, and in what ways are they speeding up? I will discuss how an emergent ‘impact-per-time’ paradigm has come to significantly structure young life-scientists’ decision-making practices about which kinds of projects to pursue and how to organise their work. Further, I will show how a focus on fast-paced knowledge production and quantifiable forms of output limits which kinds of lives appear to be possible in science and for whom. While the study focuses on the life sciences, we will discuss how the findings might be informative also for understanding similar transformation processes in other academic disciplines.
Ruth Müller is Assistant Professor for Science & Technology Policy at the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) at the TU München. She is a researcher in the interdisciplinary field of Science & Technology Studies (STS), with a background in molecular biology (MSc) and sociology (PhD). Her work explores the interactions between science & technology policy, institutional values, and academic knowledge production, as well as the sociology and epistemology of the life sciences.