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Do you need a laboratory if you have a project? How projectification transforms public research and research collectives. 
Anne-Gaëlle Beurier (Sorbonne Nouvelle University)
Victoria Brun (Mines Paris - PSL University)
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Short Abstract:

While project-grant programmation grows for science funding, research projects take diverse forms. The panel examines the transformations this policy instrument induces in terms of organization, division of labor, formation of scientific collectives and political commitment.

Long Abstract:

It is common nowadays to observe the generalization of project-grant programs for public research funding (Larédo and Mustar, 2001). Nonetheless, its concrete effects on labor organization and scientific collectives have been little studied to date. While programming by project tender is a specific and ancient instrument of research public policy and financing mechanism (opposed to recurring funding), entities that are called “projects” considerably differ. From short-term contracts to large-scale programs, acting as a financial extension or temporary institution. This is evident concerning Big science communities (Vermeulen, 2009), organized around long-term equipment projects exceeding individual laboratory scale in contrast to collectives who work on a succession of small projects (in funding and duration). Building on recent research recognizing that funding mechanisms are inseparably policy tools, research structuring, and knowledge production (Gläser and Velarde, 2018), this panel investigates the transformations project-grant programs bring to research along three axes.

A first axis will explore how projects fit into other spaces: some remain budget-dependent on laboratories when others create a temporary institution, blurring boundaries between projects, teams, and laboratories.

A second axis will examine division of labor within research projects, the composition of associated collectives (researchers from diverse status, research administrators, private or public actors), and their role into shaping careers and scientific trajectories.

A third axis will analyze how collectives understand the political motivations behind project funding, produce normative assessments and their role into shaping these policies. The New Public Management doctrine promotes projects as a more accountable form to steer research toward social priorities areas. Researchers may embrace project ambitions for an interdisciplinary and socially relevant research, or reject it, invoking serendipity for instance.

The panel welcomes empirically supported contributions from various countries and diverse entities (university, agencies, ministries, foundations...). They can be cross-axes.

Accepted papers: