Devil in the details? Policy settings and calibrations of national excellence-centers

Anat Gofen*, Adam M. Wellstead, Noa Tal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper contributes to two recently identified gaps in policy design literature. First, an approach to measuring understudied specific on-the-ground measures, namely policy settings and calibrations, is developed, with particular attention to “calibration flexibility.” Second, with this better understanding of policy design, an emerging policy design causal mechanism perspective can be further elaborated upon. On-the-ground measures of the same policy instrument—Research of Excellence Centers programs are compared across six different countries. Introduced in many OECD countries in the 1990s, Centers of Excellence were implemented with the goal of reversing the trend of “brain drain” and retaining highly mobile scholars. A theory-building process tracing approach is adopted in order to identify first- and second-order mechanisms related to pursuit of the broad policy goals of retaining and attracting scientific talent along with improving research capacity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)301-323
Number of pages23
JournalPolicy Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Calibration flexibility
  • Causal mechanisms policy calibration
  • Policy design
  • Policy settings
  • Process tracing
  • Research Centers of Excellence


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