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Sarah Tetley: Consortia need an evidence base

A growing number of universities are joining regional collaborations. But we know little about the benefits and costs of such projects, says Sarah Tetley.

When I worked for the NHS in the 1990s, the buzzword was “evidence-based decision-making”. With a few clinical exceptions, however, the NHS was too reactionary and political to support this approach. When I moved into academia, I hoped things would be different—but no such luck. Decisions, at least at an organisational level, seem also to lack theoretical or empirical underpinning.

Take the establishment of research consortia. Despite an extensive literature on university-industry consortia and collaboration through block-funded research centres, little attention has been paid to understanding why universities enter into voluntary yet formally constituted collaborations, and how they manage them. 

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