This paper explores the careers of four Research Centre Directors located in university art and design departments in the UK. It examines on a case by case basis the relationship of cause and effect during critical moments of career progression. The research reinforces previous findings that suggest that promotion within Higher Education is greatly enhanced by research performance over teaching. The study goes much further in exploring the underlying relationships between the “entrepreneurial” and “autonomy” career anchors of Research Centre Directors and the corresponding impact on power relationships as their personal capital grows. In conclusion, the paper reports that a Research Centre Director’s career trajectory may be determined not only through responsibilities and research reputation in the field, but also through skilful application of political nous, strategic awareness, and tact in marrying internal research agendas with that of the Research Centre.
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- Higher education
- Public sector
- Project management