The term “research excellence” or “research pre-eminence” is commonly used, however, its meaning varies, contextually. Being good is no longer sufficient; excellence must now be achieved in all disciplines. So, knowing about research excellence is vital, and to validate excellence on the right trajectory, the researcher’s work is considered to be qualitatively and conclusively outstanding to satisfaction. However, the absolute degree of excellence cannot be assessed just by objective measures, but rather by the opinion of academic peers. Research excellence exhibits unique work that has a visible influence on the topic and demonstrates notable work of international quality. Various organisations, such as universities, national institutions, and government agencies, are always acclaimed for their contributions to research excellence in numerous fields, but research brilliance must spread throughout the whole gamut of world cultures. Any university or institute must deliver all-inclusive quality education and research to gain an inimitable position in the world, and evidence exists that both quality education and research have a considerable effect on global society through translation, innovation, and policy development. Although research excellence is mostly discipline-specific, top-notch scientists are often involved in paradigm shifts and the creation of new models of human understanding. Their worldview is founded on novel qualitative and quantitative scientific findings, as well as unique interpretations that lead to logical conclusions. The use of new technology and methodological breakthroughs stimulates these observations. Individual researchers with expertise are established in globally renowned universities, allowing or supporting highly innovative techniques to solve the world’s most difficult and perplexing problems across different disciplines. Such research ideology and expertise must be a fundamental model that every institutional leader must promote and encourage. Every institution’s leader must have the fortitude to direct resources to areas where they may have the biggest influence on research profile and performance. Every institution must develop a worldwide research impact to obtain world-class status. Research-intensive universities must guarantee that their students benefit from an education that is deliberately and thoroughly integrated with the institution’s research profile. In my opinion, every student, regardless of caste, creed, sex, colour, or discipline, ought to be engaged in the research process that will help them in becoming critical thinkers and problem solvers.
Quality research supervision by expert mentors is essential, and two-way mentoring by main and secondary advisors is now a usual practice. Ph.D. students must get training in ethics, research integrity, and the significance of involving the public in their scientific findings, in contrast to being fully focused on their areas of research. In a research-intensive university or organisation, critical masses of Ph.D. students are required to foster community feeling and collegiality. This is true not just in terms of the total number of Ph.D. students at the institution, but also in terms of how they are structured. Many graduate institutions and doctoral training centers stress the importance of high-quality experience for Ph.D. scholars. Every triumphant doctorate thesis is built on the construction of novel knowledge and the capacity to present a cohesive and integrated collection of arguments and research findings, and the successful completion of the Ph.D. dissertation is merely the outset of a research career in core areas. Research scholars currently prefer to serve as postdoctoral fellows, and it is now a common practice at most leading universities before beginning their academic careers. This period permits scholars to embrace diverse research cultures along with new conceptual frameworks and methodologies like chalk and cheese. This is, in my opinion, the most significant period in every researcher’s career.
Cross-disciplinary research must be in full flow in emerging nations like India to tackle the world’s largest issues by consortia of researchers from many specialties. People bring their discipline-specific ideas and experiences to the table and share them across the team, rendering a cross-disciplinary approach revolutionary. There are various perceived hurdles to the formation of effective cross-disciplinary research teams, which institutional leaders must acknowledge and address. Institutional leaders must create a clear tone on the value of cross-disciplinary research, which will serve as a facilitator for research excellence out of the blue. Nowadays, signing MOUs with various universities and institutes is a healthy step in achieving quality-based research excellence as well as human resource development, and our prestigious institute, ‘Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU Ludhiana, Punjab), has always been in the process of cross-disciplinary collaborations through MOUs with various institutions and universities on a global level. The university has established proficiency in animal biotechnology, public health and zoonoses, surgery and radiology, animal reproduction, and toxicology in just seven years. Fisheries and Clinical Services of GADVASU have indeed been designated as special areas of expertise and GADVASU is now regarded as one of the top veterinary universities in the country and a memorandum of understanding has been inked in the fields of public health, zoonoses, and toxicology with the University of Saskatchewan (UOfs), Canada. Under this MoU, significant progress has been made, with symbiotic joint research projects for mutual interchange of scientists and students being accepted. Furthermore, initiatives on the integrated training program in infectious diseases, public health, and food Safety have been sanctioned in conjunction with the University of Saskatchewan (UOfs), Canada, and the Free University of Berlin to boost postgraduate research.
Excellent institutional leadership will focus on creating well-defined research of international standing by providing world-class research facilities for the successful construction of a research-intensive university. It is critical for all of us, particularly institutional leaders and researchers, to grasp the key qualities of outstanding research leaders so that we may follow in their footsteps to achieve our objectives. Such quality researchers will be publishing papers at the highest international level, making plenary session keynote addresses at international conferences, and maybe receive significant accolades like the Nobel prize, Lasker award, and others concerned with various disciplines. Additionally, the high-quality researchers typically have a great awareness of history and a good feel for the future of their discipline. Furthermore, they are well-known research leaders who mentor and encourage younger researchers. The finest give freely of their time and create an atmosphere in which others may thrive and follow in their footsteps. They are not only incredibly bright, creative, and effective at getting massive amounts of research grants, but they also operate as a centripetal force in bringing the finest of the next generation to come and work alongside them. There are no hard and fast rules for determining the quality of research, but there should be evidence of work of phenomenal authenticity, work that has inspired others and influenced the research agenda, authorship of definitive textbooks, competitive grant-winning, especially as lead researcher, extent recognition of research quality, and the impact and value of research conducted.
Bottom line: Multidisciplinary collaborative research is needed for shaping the future of research excellence that will help us in getting acknowledged globally and it is to keep in mind that excellence is not automatic, but developed through perseverance and remember endless research is the key to academic excellence.
Dr. Abrar Ul Haq Wani, Assistant Professor cum Junior Scientist, Department of Medicine, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, Punjab.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.