Center of Excellence (CE)
The increasing progresses in science and technology in recent decades have caused an increase in the scientific gap between developing countries. In Iran, on the eve of forming the third economic, social and cultural development plan, some studies were carried out regarding this issue and the scientific indicators of the country were compared to other developed and developing countries.
The result of such studies showed the gap between Iran’s scientific status and well-developed countries. One of the solutions proposed for solving this underdevelopment, is the formation of CEs in universities to initiate a competitive advantage among universities. Because of financial and human resources constraints all universities cannot act according to international standards, so it was suggested that educational or research departments, which were in reasonable advantage in terms of equipment and human resources and are determined to participate in the advancement of knowledge and to improve their quality, should be introduced as CEs in order to be supported legally and financially.
By carrying out projects of establishing academic excellence in universities and research institutions of the country in the Third Socio-economic Development Plan, the extent of scientific and research activities and their quality have significantly increased. Due to the valuable results of the activities of CE in the Third Plan, the continuation of these activities in the Fourth Development Plan was also considered.
The Fourth Development Plan has clearly put emphasis on creating centers of academic excellence on the basis of relative advantages and the country’s future needs. Also concepts and perspectives like knowledge-based development, supporting demand-oriented researches, university reform, qualitative and quantitative development of higher education in compliance with software movement needs, can be effective in the orientation of CE.
A Center of Excellence is the symbol of the organized activity of a group of academic staff in a higher institution having high scientific capabilities, that is recognized for its excellence in a scientific-professional field of basic or applied sciences and by giving focus and coherence to their activities in that field they try to achieve better scientific quality and innovation at national, regional or international levels. This would respond to the fulfillment of the country’s basic needs.