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Global Consolidation of a Third Scholarly Mission of Use-Oriented Research:

24 July 2017
12:30 - 13:30


Global Consolidation of a Third Scholarly Mission of Use-Oriented Research: Some Implications for the Structure and Configuration of Research Groupings

Presenter: Emeritus Associate Professor David Cooper, Sociology, University of Cape Town

Date: 24 July 2017 | Time:  12h30 – 13h30
Venues: Pretoria (9th Floor Boardroom), Durban and Cape Town 

This seminar is based on David Cooper’s 2011 book ‘The University in Development’. The first part of the presentation argues for a ‘big picture’ with regard to a post-1970s global transformation of the nature of scholarly research which, it is also argued, is reconfiguring the structure of research groupings based especially around use-oriented research.

This first part speaks to the post-1970s consolidation of ‘use-oriented research’: understood as spanning a spectrum extending from use-inspired basic research (UIBR) to pure applied research (PAR). Such use-oriented research comprises a third mission, now being grafted onto the earlier missions of pure basic research (PBR) and teaching.

Cooper argues that prior to this post-1970s transformation, the core structure of scholarly research comprised a small research grouping as ‘professor-chair’ (model 1): one professor-cum-postgraduate research students plus 1-2 postdocs/untenured researchers (what natural scientists often call ‘my lab’). Post-1970s we have seen what might be called a ‘network of professor-chairs’ (model 2, or network of model 1s). He argues however that what is really needed for use-oriented research (i.e. the third mission) fully to flower, both at universities and at scholarly research institutions like the HSRC, is also a ‘research centre’ (model 3): a novel and larger-type structure, comprising at core ‘a professor director-cum-3 to 5 tenured senior researchers(each running their own groups under the director)-cum-tenured research officers and contract research interns (all clustered within the respective research groups)-cum-administrative personnel infrastructure’.

The last part argues for advantages of this model 3 research centre structure. Importantly it will be stressed that Industry or Government or Civil Society ‘require’ a scholarly centre-type structure whose ‘use-oriented’ research output is high quality and sustained (not stop-start), implying a ‘centre’ with tenured (or relatively) permanent director and senior researchers and even research officers – who do not leave for better pastures every couple of years.

Kindly RSVP by 23 July 2017

HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail:

Cape Town : HSRC, Merchant House 116-118 Buitengracht Street Cape Town, Cape Town. Contact: Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or

Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail