Jacques Mairesse, Michele Pezzoni, Fabiana Visentin, 13 December 2020

The observation that few women reach the highest positions in science prompts the question of whether they are discriminated against. This column shows that at the French Institute of Physics at CNRS, one of Europe’s largest public research organisation, differences in research productivity account entirely for the average gender gap in the promotion from junior to senior positions. This finding does not contradict the observation that other promotion factors – such as family characteristics, mentoring, professional networks, and research responsibilities – have different impacts on female and male researchers.

Christian Helmers, Henry Overman, 25 November 2017

Highly localised research infrastructure investment, such as in the Large Hadron Collider, often leads to major scientific breakthroughs, but there is little evidence on the longer-term and wider geographical impacts on scientific output. This column uses the example of the UK’s Diamond Light Source to study the impact of large facilities on where scientific research is conducted. Not only do such investments substantially increase directly related research in the local area, they also create spillovers on unrelated research through knowledge sharing.

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