What skill do engineering research departments most depend upon?

Anthony Haynes writes:  We can think of an engineering research department as a system in which:

  • the main input consists of grant funding
  • the main output consists of publications, principally in the form papers

In effect, research departments constitute a form of converter: they are mechanisms for converting money into text. For a more detailed explanation, please watch this interview by Dr Miying Yang: https://vimeo.com/204071837.

And what skill is required for both gaining grants and getting published?

Yes, writing.

Presumably then most research departments ensure that their staff are trained in writing proposals and papers?

Er, no.

In a rational world, that would be the case. But in reality, coverage is sporadic.

A bit like running a football team and leaving to chance the question of whether players are trained to kick the ball.

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