Document Type : Scientific - Research



In this paper from historical perspectives, the important factors in the formation, development, stability and decay of academic and Professional Centers of Excellence (Poles) are discussed. The major objective of Civil Engineering (CE) Poles under the conditions of recent progress in technology and communication, and increase in expectations, capabilities and developmental need of the society are defined. The necessary prerequisites and conditions, needed resources and criteria for a university or academic center to establish a CE POLE are investigated. Also, the advantages and limitation of establishing centralized CE Poles are discussed using a historic Systems Dynamic approach. It is concluded that in general some of the major traditional objectives of Scientific Poles are satisfied by recent advances in communication and information technology (IT). These modern advancements raise doubt about the necessity of establishing old- style centralized academic Poles. To establish CE Poles the followings steps should be carried out: 1) Based on the study of the characteristics of the existing CE Poles and Centers of Excellence in industrially developed countries and by simultaneously considering the national needs, capabilities, and objectives, the characteristics of CE Poles in Iran should be defined; 2) The list of qualified university and research centers to become candidates for CE Poles in Iran should be prepared; 3) Using enhanced methods of Location Analysis, the optimum candidates for CE Poles should be selected among the qualified candidates. Contrary to the past, it is necessary to consider that due to rapid multi-disciplinary changes of the present environment, the from and structure of any CE Pole should be adaptable to the rapidly changing universal techno-economical conditions. The topics presented in this paper are not limited only to the subject of CE Poles but they can applied also to other centers of Excellence in other branchers of science and technology. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to raise questions and open a new dialogue regarding the necessity of the establishment, and the level of development and character of the Scientific Poles. The main conclusions of the presented arguments are that in the present dynamic and rapidly changing environment, all the important issues regarding the establishment of Scientific Poles should be studied thoroughly before making decisions to allocate substantial resources. Also, the structure of these Poles should be decentralized, flexible and adaptive in the long run, both physically and managerial.