Managing science

Meeting about European aero engine cooperation, 1960s
Meeting about European aero engine cooperation, 1960s

Many of those who started off their careers as research scientists eventually made the transition to management, of individuals, projects or large organisations in both the public and the private sector. Some received formal training to help make this transition, but most had to develop their own styles of management that suited the particular nature of the organisations and individuals they oversaw. Effective management was important to navigate the complexities of major technical projects that relied on large teams working together to ensure that they were successfully completed and deadlines met. Not everyone was keen to take on administrative and management responsibilities as their careers developed and interviewees from a range of disciplines suggest that increasing bureaucratic control, particularly in universities, was not conducive to innovative research. Universities are identifiedas particularly difficult places to manage, especially when compared with industry, because of their reliance on committees and the presence of competing interests.