Our paper examines the relationship between managerial control and research performance of academic groups. An understanding of the determinants of research performance is a prerequisite for designing effective micro- and macro-research policies. The paper focuses on Dutch medical and health research groups. Our paper addresses the following question: do (certain) research management activities enhance the performance of academic groups? A quantitative approach was used to gather data from research leaders in 160 groups. Correlation analysis and multivariate linear regression analysis show that several aspects of research management have a positive relationship with research performance. Furthermore, this study reveals that managerial choices of Dutch (bio)medical and health research leaders give rise to differences in performances measures. Additionally the disciplinary setting is found to have an impact on relationships between managerial control and performance. The paper concludes by giving suggestions for further research as well as considering possible implications for research policy. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.