Although research universities represent only fifteen to twenty per cent of national university systems worldwide, they provide the bulk of fundamental research and doctoral training. Written by two veteran university administrators, Leading Research Universities in a Competitive World focuses on the international ranking systems’ uneven distribution of these institutions in industrialized countries, and the organizational factors affecting their efficacy, prestige, and performance. Robert Lacroix and Louis Maheu argue that research universities, despite being embedded within academia’s mindset and rules, have to master market influences and relationships in order to produce new knowledge and attract the rare talent and limited financial assets required for successful research and education activities. Comparing the configuration of higher education systems in the US, UK, France, and Canada, the authors outline the ways in which research universities, which need public funding and have to engage diverse forms of state regulation, may possess sufficient autonomy to behave as independent actors. They demonstrate that reaching an equilibrium between autonomy and state regulation, though challenging, is an essential element in the success of high performing research universities. Leading Research Universities in a Competitive World illuminates the operation of these institutions through substantive quantitative and qualitative datasets to address the fundamental question of why universities perform differently.
Leading Research Universities in a Competitive World