n South African Journal of Higher Education - Research policy and governance in the United Kingdom - critical perspective and implications for South African Higher Education research

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article begins with a critical consideration of five trends in social and educational research policy and environment in the UK and internationally : (1) the intensification of public criticisms of education research since the mid- and late-1990s; (2) the increasing emphasis on user involvement and focus on use; (3) the ever tighter accountability regimes and the adoption of selective, performance-related, funding procedures; (4) the demand for research syntheses and pressures towards cumulative development of research knowledge; and (5) growing researcher mobility and cross-national collaboration. The second part of the article reflects on these developments in relation to the South African context, on the background of historically significant issues such as the past exclusiveness of research cultures and the international isolation of the wider research community. The article argues that, while minding her position and needs as a developing country on the African continent, South Africa may be able to benefit critically from, while avoiding some of the pitfalls of, the 'learning trajectories' of other research systems, including that of the UK.

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