DARE to be different? Applying diversity indicators to the evaluation of collaborative research projects

Frédérique Bone, Michael M. Hopkins, Ismael Ràfols, Jordi Molas-Gallart, Puay Tang, Gail Davey, Antony M. Carr
SPRU Working Paper Series

Growth in collaborative research raises challenges for those tasked with research evaluation, particularly in situations where outcomes are slow to emerge. This article presents the ‘Diversity Approach to Research Evaluation’ (DARE) as a novel way to assess how researchers, engaged in knowledge creation and application, work together as teams. DARE provides two important insights: Firstly it reveals the differences in background and experience between individual team members that can make research collaboration both valuable and challenging; secondly, DARE provides early insights into how these teams are working together. DARE achieves these insights by analysing team diversity and cohesiveness in five dimensions, building on Boschma’s multidimensional concept of proximity. The method we propose combines narratives, maps, and indicators and is broadly applicable to the study of research collaboration. The article introduces the DARE method and pilots a proof-of-concept operationalisation through the study oftwo grant-funded biomedical research projects led by researchers in the UK. Suggestions for further development of the approach are discussed.