Luis Sanz-Menendez

CSIC (Spanish National Research Center)
Institute of Public Goods and Policies (IPP)

C/ Albasanz 26-28, 3D13
Madrid 28037
E-28037 |  Visit Personal Website

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Sanz-Menendez's research interests focus on science, technology and innovation policies, especially from a comparative perspective. He is working on the institutional and organizational aspects of the research systems, R&D centers and universities, and on human resources for S&T, research careers and the construction of indicators for R&D. He also has worked on the role of the evaluation and foresight, and Parliamentary technology assessment.

Cruz-Castro, L and Sanz-Menendez, L. (2015). "The effects of economic crisis on public research". Technological Forecasting and Social Change (in press)
Abstract: The economic crisis of recent years provides an extremely valuable context for the study of the effective role which R&D policies have had for governments, both as a potential tool for exiting from the crisis and as an object of fiscal consolidation. The discourse of governments and international organizations often connect actions to cope with the crisis with reforms and changes in many areas, such as R&D. However, in practice overarching fiscal consolidation policies could be damaging opportunities to establish government strategies to reform and improve the efficiency of the sector. This paper analyses the impact of the crisis on Spanish R&D budgets and on a public research system characterised by low organizational autonomy and limited strategic capacity. We argue that the fiscal consolidation measures adopted have reduced the capacity of governments to direct the public R&D system. Budget cuts, together with regulations emphasizing administrative controls, have reduced the government's capacity to define spending priorities, limited the ability of research organizations to adapt to the new situation and increased the levels of uncertainty within the system and reduced trust among actors. When the policy dilemma between control and reform is resolved in favour of the former, it is likely that public research organizations will lose autonomy as a collateral effect of the crisis. We argue that the Spanish public sector research system is poorly equipped to resist the crisis and adapt to an environment of shrinking resources. In this sense, the lesson to be learned may be that organizational attributes are apparently critical in the long term and that autonomy should not be undermined.
Sanz-Menéndez, Luis and Gregg G. Van Ryzin (2015): “Economic crisis and public attitudes toward science: A study of regional differences in Spain”. Public Understanding of Science (first on line).
Abstract: Although there is little theory about the effects of economic conditions on public support for science and technology (S&T), some evidence suggests that an economic crisis could produce a decline in support for S&T because of more pressing priorities, such as jobs and social services. But the public may also view S&T as a strategic pathway out of an economic slump. We test these competing hypotheses employing two national surveys from Spain, implemented before (2006) and after (2010) the onset of a severe economic crisis. We find that, in regions hit hardest by the crisis (compared to less-affected regions), trust in the benefits of S&T increased substantially, as did general public interest in S&T. Similarly, residents of the hardest-hit regions were more likely after the crisis to choose S&T (out of a list of policy areas) as a priority for government, and somewhat more likely to express support for increases in government S&T spending. Theoretical and policy implications are discussed.
DOI: DOI: 10.1177/0963662513489790
Sanz-Menéndez, Luis; Gregg G. Van Ryzin and Eloisa del Pino (2014): “Citizens’ support for government spending on science and technology”, Science and Public Policy, 41 (5): 611-624
Abstract: This paper analyses public support for government spending on science and technology (S&T) and its determinants. It constructs hypotheses based on previous findings from two streams of research: public preferences for government spending and public understanding of science. Using data from a large national survey in Spain, it develops multivariate models to test the relevance of various predictors of public support for government spending on S&T. Findings identify several variables that are clear and consistent predictors of public support for government spending on S&T: the respondent’s educational level, interest and participation in science, knowledge of science, and positive values and views of S&T. However, the effects of other variables also related to general attitudes towards science are less clearly associated with support for government spending on S&T.
DOI: doi: 10.1093/scipol/sct091
Sanz-Menéndez, Luis; Laura Cruz-Castro and Kenedy Alva (2013): “Time to Tenure in Spanish Universities: An Event History Analysis”. PLoS ONE 8(10),: e77028., 1-18
Abstract: Understanding how institutional incentives and mechanisms for assigning recognition shape access to a permanent job is important. This study, based on data from questionnaire survey responses and publications of 1,257 university science, biomedical and engineering faculty in Spain, attempts to understand the timing of getting a permanent position and the relevant factors that account for this transition, in the context of dilemmas between mobility and permanence faced by organizations. Using event history analysis, the paper looks at the time to promotion and the effects of some relevant covariates associated to academic performance, social embeddedness and mobility. We find that research productivity contributes to career acceleration, but that other variables are also significantly associated to a faster transition. Factors associated to the social elements of academic life also play a role in reducing the time from PhD graduation to tenure. However, mobility significantly increases the duration of the non-tenure stage. In contrast with previous findings, the role of sex is minor. The variations in the length of time to promotion across different scientific domains is confirmed, with faster career advancement for those in the Engineering and Technological Sciences compared with academics in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Results show clear effects of seniority, and rewards to loyalty, in addition to some measurements of performance and quality of the university granting the PhD, as key elements speeding up career advancement. Findings suggest the existence of a system based on granting early permanent jobs to those that combine social embeddedness and team integration with some good credentials regarding past and potential future performance, rather than high levels of mobility.
DOI: DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077028
Cruz-Castro, Laura; Luis Sanz-Menéndez and Catalina Martínez (2012): “Research centers in transition: patterns of convergence and diversity”, The Journal of Technology Transfer 37 (1): 18-42
Abstract: Governments continue to play a central role in the way research is conducted and organized by defining new models for research centers. How do existing research centers adapt to changes in their environment? Institutional theory suggests that organizations pursue efficiency and legitimacy by conforming to isomorphic pressures in their organizational field, which will eventually lead to a reduction of diversity in organizational practices and strategies. Resource-dependence theory assumes a more active agency and calls attention to the diverse strategic responses of organizations to institutional processes. Based on funding microdata and qualitative information at center level, this study undertakes to analyze changes in two populations of Spanish research centers (government laboratories and technology centers) in a time of evolving policy paradigms, emergence of new models for research centers, and increasing competition in the field of R&D. We find that a large share of the existing government laboratories and technology centers have progressively conformed to a funding strategy based on diversifying sources and increasing competitive public funding, although both populations are still characterized by some degree of internal diversity regarding funding portfolios. Structural heterogeneity also remains as regards management practices such as research planning and agenda setting
DOI: DOI: 10.1007/s10961-010-9168-5
Osuna, C., L. Cruz-Castro, and Luis Sanz-Menendez. 2011. "Overturning Some Assumptions About the Effects of Evaluation Systems on Publication Performance." Scientometrics 86 (3): 575-592.
Abstract: In 1989 the Spanish Government established an individual retrospective research evaluation system (RES) for public researchers. Policy makers have associated the establishment of this evaluation system with the significant increase in the volume of scientific publications attributed to Spain over the last decades. In a similar vein to the analyses of other country cases, some scholars have also claimed that the growth of Spain?s international scientific publications is a result of the establishment of the new evaluation system. In this paper, we provide a methodological revision of the validity threats in previous research, including some interrupted time-series analyses and control groups to investigate the effects of this policy instrument on the number of papers produced by Spanish authors. In the years following the establishment of the evaluation system, the results indicate a considerable increase in the number of papers attributed to Spanish authors among those eligible for evaluation (the treated group), but also in the control groups. After testing various alternative explanations, we conclude that the growth inrnSpanish publications cannot be attributed indisputably to the effect of the establishment of the RES, but rather to the increase of expenditure and number of researchers in the Spanish R&D system along with some maturation effects. We take this case as an example of the need to improve and refine methodologies and to be more cautious when attributing effects to research evaluation mechanisms at the national level.
Cruz-Castro, L., and Luis Sanz-Menendez. 2010. "Mobility vs. Job Stability: Assessing Tenure and Productivity Outcomes." Research Policy 39 (1): 27-38.
Abstract: Based on the data from survey responses and publications of 1583 academic scientists in Spain, this paper examines the relationship between scientific performance and reward, considering tenure and permanent positions as key academic rewards in early phases of academic career and focusing especially on the mediating effect of mobile versus stable career paths. Although widely practiced, inbreeding has often been considered to be at odds with universalism and merit in science. Our findings indicate that inbred faculty does not get tenure with less scientific merits than PhDs from other institutions; we also find that non-mobile careers are a strong predictor of the timing of rewards in the form of early permanent positions. Our results question the assumption mainly based on US evidence that mobility enhances career. These findings must be interpreted in the context of organizational and institutional features of the Spanish academic system that promote the development of internal academic research job markets.

Substantive Focus:
Science and Technology Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY