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Unis. imitating Premier League football teams?

An article in "The Guardian" on Saturday by Richard Adams (Education Editor) suggests that, according to a study by economists at Uni. of Nottingham, unis. are aping Premier League football clubs by poaching "superstar" talent, rewarding an elite group of professors with higher pay to boost their research rankings. (

This confirms what I have heard on campuses in recent years. As the next government research assessment approaches, there is sometimes a frantic effort by unis. to get high profile researchers on board, which is reminiscent of the situation in football, as the transfer window is about to close.

Many years ago I learned to be cautious about using the results of such assessments to judge a department. After an Engineering department at a prominent English uni. got a high score in a research assessment, the research "stars" were promptly "poached" by a US uni.. The research standing of the UK department was significantly weakened, but the department kept its high score for a few years until the next assessment.

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