RoRI PARTNER | Fondazione Telethon joins the RoRI Consortium

Research on Research Institute Welcomes New Strategic Partner | Fondazione Telethon to strengthen efforts to understand career pathways and incentive structures in research.

The Research on Research Institute (RoRI) is delighted to announce that Fondazione Telethon are the newest addition to the RoRI consortium of Strategic Partners.

Fondazione Telethon (FT) is one of the major Italian biomedical non-profit organisation founded at the behest of patient groups to advance biomedical research towards the cure of rare genetic conditions. In its 30 years of activity, FT has invested more than €556 million euro in funding for more than 2,700 research grants and involving over 1,630 scientists for the advancement of knowledge regarding rare genetic diseases and development of treatments. FT is also comprised of two global centres of excellence in the study of rare genetic conditions: San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (SR-Tiget) in Milan, and the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine (TIGEM) in Pozzuoli (Naples).

Following the addition of FT, RoRI’s consortium now includes 21 partners, drawn from 13 countries or regions. The consortium comprises research funders, academics, research organizations and technologists all aiming to champion transformative research on research systems, concepts, cultures, careers and decision-making. Manuela Battaglia, FT’s Head of Research said “RoRI provides the optimal platform to deliberate on questions core to pillars of research enterprises. We look forward to contributing to the goals of the consortium, to share our experience and insight of the Italian context”.

Understanding Career Pathways and Incentive Structures
FT will participate in two of RoRI’s five flagship projects, namely:
>PATHWAYS: a six-country, multi-partner study of data, frameworks & future directions for career pathways in research.
>TRANSFORMING ‘EXCELLENCE’: definitions, applications & alternatives to excellence in the evaluation, management and measurement of research.

Anne-Marie Coriat, Head of UK & Europe Research Landscape at the Wellcome Trust and project lead for PATHWAYS said “We are delighted that Fondezione Telethon are joining the Pathways project and greatly look forward to working together”. Stephen Pinfield, Professor of Information Services Management, University of Sheffield and project lead for TRANSFORMING ‘EXCELLENCE’ said “We are looking forward to working with Fondazione Telethon on our project investigating the role of the idea of ‘Excellence’ in research. We have already started working with colleagues at FT on moving the project forward and believe they can bring some really important insights to the research.”

Notes for editors
About Fondazione Telethon
Fondazione Telethon (FT) is an Italian non-profit organisation founded in 1990 at the behest of a group of patients to support research on rare genetic diseases. Central to its mission, research is carried out via both intramural Telethon institutes and extramural laboratories funded through competitive calls. FT invests in the whole pipeline of research; from basic research to clinical studies, as well as infrastructures for research. In addition to funding activities, FT has built strong in-house expertise in drug development, including technology transfer and regulatory affairs, to bring real solutions to patients.

About RoRI
RoRI is an international consortium of research funders, academic institutions and technologists working to champion transformative & translational research on research. By analysing research systems and experimenting with new tools, indicators and evaluation frameworks, we aim to advance more strategic, open, diverse and inclusive research.

About the RoRI PATHWAYS project
This project will explore career pathways in research, broadly defined, with an empirical and policy focus on six countries: Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, UK and USA. The project team will be drawn from RoRI partners in these countries, and a wider network of data, research and policy partners. It will follow a modular structure, conducted via desk analysis and online meetings: Phase 1 will explore the data landscape, and identify opportunities to improve quality and access to existing data; Phase 2 will identify how collaboration in definition, generation and monitoring of career data can inform research policy and management, and support more diverse and inclusive research cultures; Phase 3 will culminate in a global online conference on ‘reforming the postdoctoral experience’ accompanied by a detailed report.

Initiatives like the UK’s REF, Germany’s Exzellenzinitiative and Switzerland’s Eccellenza grants have put excellence at the centre of research policy and evaluation. However, the concept remains ambiguous, and is often operationalised through reliance on a small number of metrics. Critics argue that it creates perverse incentives in research, and some have called for the concept to be pluralised, taking account of additional evidence and indicators, such as non-academic impact or openness. Others have argued for scrapping the concept entirely, seeing it as little more than a buzzword. This project will assess ways in which the concept of excellence is currently being used by RoRI partners and other key actors in research systems, and how these definitions and uses are changing and can be improved.

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