Funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Science Policy Research Programme and led by Professor John McHale, this project’s focus will be the study of the recruitment of star scientists on the performance of Irish science. A central challenge to government support for science is that much of the benefit spills over to other countries. That is, science has the characteristics of a global public good. This challenge can hold with particular force for a small open economy (SOE) such as Ireland, given that only a small fraction of the benefits may be appropriated by the sponsoring country. In an effort to address this challenge the Irish funders of scientific research have engaged in star-scientist-led capacity building initiatives.
The research in this project will adopt an evidence-based and policy-focused evaluation of the success of these star-scientist-led capacity building initiatives. Building on existing work, the project will focus upon questions that are central to an evidenced-based approach in identifying effective policies for star-led capacity building. Questions include, what is the nature and extent of Ireland’s star-led research clusters and how do stars affect university and regional productivity?
Among the outcomes of interest are the direct effects of the star on institutional performance, indirect effects on the productivity of colleagues, implications for subsequent recruitment, and impacts on collaboration patterns. Comparisons with other high-income small open economies will also be undertaken. In addition, the implications of the findings for the development of Irish science research policy will be explored.