Stars our destination

November 15, 2012

I am grateful to Times Higher Education for citing my early work on the impact of the research assessment exercise ("Reach for the stars", 1 November). Two other issues have emerged over the years. First, many academics have become stars by a single-minded focus on their own careers: they may not be good at nurturing others and promoting a research culture, which is often a hoped-for result of their recruitment.

Second, there are not enough stars to go round. We need to "grow our own", as the alternative is to look abroad, as Premier League football clubs do. This, compounded by the small number of UK nationals studying full-time PhDs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, does nothing to improve the national science base (or national football teams).

Ian McNay, Professor emeritus, higher education and management, University of Greenwich

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