These are draft chapters of the Handbook. The final versions will be available in the Handbook of Public Research Funding, edited by Benedetto Lepori, Ben Jongbloed and Diana Hicks, forthcoming 2023, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Chapters can be cited before the publication of the Handbook, using details included at the bottom of the first page of each chapter's preview.
The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher and is for private use only.
INTRODUCTION. UNDERSTANDING VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL COMPLEXITIES IN PUBLIC RESEARCH FUNDING
Lepori, B., Jongbloed, B., & Hicks, D.
The level of resources required for scientific research and the extent of public support increased spectacularly since WWII. It was fueled by the expectation that providing more resources would support economic growth, create jobs, enhance social welfare, protect the environment, and expand the frontiers of human knowledge. The diversity of goals also turned into an increasing complexity and differentiation of the public funding landscape, in terms of the underlying motivations, of funding instruments and of the R&D performers receiving public funds. This introductory chapter to the Handbook of Public Research Funding reviews the state of the art on these topics and summarises the main insights of the individual chapters. To deal with vertical (across system’s layers) and horizontal (between different narratives, instruments and beneficiaries) complexity, it is suggested to draw from theoretical lenses from fields such as sociology of markets, public policy, management and strategies in order to develop analytical approaches that allow analysing public research funding in a more differentiated manner. While until now, the multiplication of funding instruments has been the prevalent approach to address new policy issues in public research funding, it is argued that this expansion has come to limits and that managing complexity and dealing with complementarities and interactions between existing instruments, agencies and performers will become increasingly important in the future.
WHAT IS PUBLIC ABOUT PUBLIC RESEARCH? THE CASE OF COVID-19 R&D
The term “public” has many meanings and one’s usage of the term relates to ideas about the nature of public research and public funding of research. The current chapter examines four distinct uses of the term public as they shape concepts of public research. This conceptual analysis seeks to contribute to theories of public research by presenting a case of COVID-19 research as an illustration of the ways in which different ideas about public can shape policy choices and outcomes. A normative thread woven through the chapter suggests that a public value notion of public may be especially useful when considering the nature of public funding for research that has short-term and dire global effects.
MOTIVATIONS GUIDING PUBLIC RESEARCH FUNDING IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION (STI) POLICY: A SYNTHESIS
Persistent tension between the autonomy of creativity and the politics of purpose surrounds discussions about science, technology and innovation over time. This conflict underlies public research investment. However, the environment surrounding public research funding has changed in the last decades making the underlying rationales more complex, heterogeneous and hybrid. The chapter explores motivations guiding PRF that over time try to explain and justify more complex realities and demands. It synthesizes relevant literature around three main motivations –creativity, purpose, and transformation– and considers them as co-exiting in national research environments. This typology departs from the classical triad of curiosity, market and mission motivations, but re-casts them in light of emergent motivations that seek to transform PRF. The chapter extends Elzinga's contribution, which took a time-based, succession approach, by exploring the types of funding motivations described in the literature and providing a discussion about recent motivations that propose transformative change.
POLITICS OF PUBLIC RESEARCH FUNDING: THE CASE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
This chapter examines the politics of public research funding by focusing on one of the most prominent international initiatives, namely the European Union’s Framework Programme. It investigates how, over the years, policy frames combining certain values and interests have contributed to the emergence and expansion of the EU public research funding. If the initial establishment of EU research policy was largely driven by economic frame, then in recent decades its further expansion has been facilitated also by two additional – scientific excellence and societal challenges – frames. Although similar frames can be encountered at a national level, a specific feature of EU research policy is that the EU level cooperation, coordination, and competition are seen as solutions to economic competitiveness, scientific excellence, and societal challenges. While public research funding typically is analysed from a technocratic perspective, this chapter highlights the need to examine the role of political priorities, values, and interests in research policy and funding.
IDEAS AND INSTRUMENTS IN PUBLIC RESEARCH FUNDING
Ideas and instruments pervade public policies. Ideas are cognitive and emotional beliefs about the direction of policies and goals, while instruments are the means to realise ideas. Both, however, evolve through a deep process of reciprocal influence, a phenomenon also seen in public research funding (PRF). Decades of evolution from the “old social contract for science” to new contracts evaluating performance demonstrate how new ideas (what PRF should achieve) and new instruments (funding approaches) become adopted. This chapter examines this relationship by using public policy literature to define ideas and instruments; it also shows how PRF instruments are not just neutral, goal-oriented means but also political devices for specific policy preferences. Historical instruments are institutions that constrain the behaviour of decisionmakers and scientists because they have “value per se”; consequently, new ideas and instruments cannot create a common template due to the intrinsic mix of policy paradigms in PRF.
PERFORMANCE-BASED RESEARCH FUNDING AND ITS IMPACTS ON RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS
Performance-based research funding systems (PBFS) allocate direct institutional funding to universities and other public research organisations based on an assessment of their research. There are three main types: evaluation-based funding, indicator-based funding, and funding contingent on performance agreements. Potential problems with PBFS depend on the type and design of the system, its influence on funding and reputation, and the involvement of the funded organisations in collaboration about the design and implementation. PBFS may create an overview over and external insight into the research activities and provide fairer and more transparent funding allocation criteria. However, they also come with a paradox: the validity of the methods, and thereby the usefulness of PBFS, may be reduced when performance assessment or measurement is connected to funding. Minimising their effects on funding and reputation may support the achievement of their aims.
R&D PROGRAMS AS INSTRUMENTS FOR GOVERNMENTAL R&D FUNDING POLICY
Reale, E., Gulbrandsen, M., & Scherngell, T.
Major developments in governmental research and development (R&D) funding are associated with the emergence of programs as funding instruments. Programs include an explicit mission for R&D, scientific priorities, procedures for attaining funding, and a budget that also contains regulations for monitoring and evaluation. The aim of this chapter is to give a broad overview of the main theoretical underpinnings and advancements dealing with programs as instruments of governmental R&D policy. It seeks to explore two questions: what is the role of programs in government funding of R&D? How can we understand programs theoretically and design frameworks to empirically study them? The chapter illustrates the diversity and complex nature of R&D programs, as well as the strategies and objectives they reveal, the actors implementing the programs and the modes of implementation. New conceptual framings and methodological approaches are supported by examples of recent and currently developing empirical data and infrastructures to investigate the diversity of funding programs.
SIZE MATTERS! ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF INCREASING THE SIZE OF RESEARCH GRANTS
Bloch, C., Kladakis, A., & Sørensen M.P.
This chapter examines the rationales behind larger grants, from large individual or project grants to research centers. It discusses arguments and evidence in favour of increased grant sizes, such as economies of scale in research and redistribution of resources towards top researchers to increase scientific productivity and pathbreaking research, as well as potentially negative impacts of increasing funding size, leading to the concentration of funding among a smaller number of researchers. In recent years, increasing attention has been placed on inequality in science and the growing concentration of funding. Research funding policies play an important role in these developments, particularly through the design of funding instruments, where a focus on larger funding grants can contribute to concentration trends and increased inequality. Distribution of funding has repercussions for the science system at all levels, from individual researchers to institutions, regions, and disciplines.
POTENTIALS AND LIMITATIONS OF PROGRAM BASED RESEARCH FUNDING FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF RESEARCH SYSTEMS
Bührer, S., Seus, S., & Walz, R.
This chapter analyses the opportunities and limitations of program funding for the transformation of science systems. For this purpose, we review the existing literature on transformative research and corresponding research funding approaches, using sustainability research as an example. We use the German funding framework to promote sustainability research as an empirical illustration for the role of research funding for changing research processes. We conclude that transformation cannot be expected from individual project-based programs, but an adaptation of the science system on all levels is needed. This involves a shift in mindset and also in the practices of individual researchers; the commitment of the research performing organisations, including an altered orientation towards the impact of science; the need to overcome the still existing disincentives to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work; and finally a new “Leitbild” for excellent research, which accounts for the need to direct research towards global challenges without compromising academic rigor.
TARGETING RESEARCH TO ADDRESS SOCIETAL NEEDS: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM 30 YEARS OF TARGETING NEGLECTED DISEASES?
Coburn, J., Yaqub, O., & Chataway, J.
Neglected diseases have been characterised as a misalignment in the research system because so little research is directed towards such a large burden of disease. By focusing on one of the most extreme cases of misalignment, we highlight opportunities and potential pitfalls of targeting research towards specific social outcomes more generally.
We trace how the category of neglected diseases came to prominence, largely framed as a problem to be addressed by scientific research. This mobilised R&D investment but there have been unintended consequences, particularly for broader health system strengthening and research capacity building efforts.
These developments may contribute to a 'tragedy of the evaluation commons', where the effectiveness of broad remit research programs remain poorly characterised. This exacerbates a lack of evidence, relative to targeting specific diseases where the evaluation challenge is narrower. Research targeting then is intimately tied to evaluation practice.
A new research and policy agenda oriented towards broader research evaluation may support further investments not just for biomedical R&D in high-income countries, but also for researchers in other countries, for interdisciplinary, applied and social sciences, and ultimately, for poor patients.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF COMPETITION IN PUBLIC RESEARCH FUNDING SYSTEMS
Arora-Jonsson, S., Brunsson, N., & Edlund, P.
Competition is a core feature of public research systems. Previous literature has mainly focused on the consequences of competition for research funding in such systems. These consequences are important, but the literature has largely assumed that competition for funding is inevitable in public research systems. This assumption masks the extent to which competition is a constructed phenomenon requiring explanation. When and why is there competition for research funding in public systems? In this chapter, our aim is to develop new knowledge about the ways that various allocations of funding are or are not constructed as competition for funding. We utilise recent theorising to analyse competition for research funding as a phenomenon that eventually comes about through organising efforts. Our chapter revitalises previous literature and offers policy implications and future inquiry avenues that highlight the importance of understanding how competition for funding is constructed, and potentially revoked, in public research systems.
INCENTIVES, RATIONALES, AND EXPECTED IMPACT: LINKING PERFORMANCE-BASED RESEARCH FUNDING TO INTERNAL FUNDING DISTRIBUTIONS OF UNIVERSITIES
Kivistö, J. & Mathies, C.
In this chapter, we aim to “open the black box” of universities in their efforts of linking performance-based research funding systems (PRFS) and their efforts of internal incentivisation. We discuss how PRFS affects universities’ internal incentivisation structures and how this behaviour translates into shifts in university research performance. We argue that agency theory helps to explain how individuals, units and universities attempt to resolve tensions between motivation and performance. This leads to an understanding in which the PRFSs are based on the validity of two interconnected premises; an individual or unit is sensitive to financial incentives of PRFSs if they have the sufficient motivation and the sufficient capability to align their research production with PRFS incentives. We conclude that PRFSs are only able to deliver the expected benefits to the extent their basic assumptions are in with the intra-institutional causal chain; incorrect assumptions likely lead to higher unintended effects.
RESEARCH FUNDING IN THE CONTEXT OF HIGH INSTITUTIONAL STRATIFICATION. POLICY SCENARIOS FOR EUROPE BASED ON INSIGHTS FROM THE UNITED STATES
Jappe, A. & Heinze, T.
This paper argues that stratified structures in university systems should be addressed more explicitly in debates on research funding. The paper connects findings from several streams of literature on US-American research universities: (a) the relationship of organisational status and scientific quality, (b) positional competitions among elite universities, (c) concentration of research funding, and (d) faculty exchange networks as measures of university prestige. Taken together, these literatures reveal a crystalline hierarchy with intense competition for scientific talent at the top but little opportunity for upward institutional and personal mobility. While elite universities provide advantages in terms of research output and prestige, the findings point to social closure as a potentially problematic outcome for a democratic knowledge society. Therefore, the comparison highlights two policy challenges by means of two scenarios: closing the gap in organisational resources while at the same time ensuring continuing expansion of the research university system in Europe.
PUBLIC RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS AND PUBLIC RESEARCH FUNDING
Cruz-Castro, L. & Sanz-Menéndez, L.
This chapter addresses the relationship between public research organisations (PRO) and R&D public funding. The chapter focuses on the analysis of a diverse set of organisations that carry out R&D without having teaching as part of the core missions, which do not depend on companies or universities, and on which the Government exerts influence or control through various channels.
The focus on which relevant dimension of government influence is relevant for categorisation has been changing from the administrative dependence or legal status to their effective control, funding, or missions. Behind the PRO as a concept, new dynamics are identifiable, especially the increasing diversity of sources of funding, the execution of public missions or the provision of public goods.
The chapter examines the classifications of PRO, the role of funding in the typologies and the importance of considering the missions for understanding the increasing diversity of PRO. It also presents some plausible connections between different types of research funding and authority relations in different types of PRO.
REFRAMING STUDY OF RESEARCH(ER) FUNDING TOWARDS CONFIGURATIONS AND TRAILS
Thomas D.A., & Ramos-Vielba, I.
Research funding has become complicated in many fields across contemporary science. Changing funding policies, programmes and instruments also affect the funding situations of individual researchers, meaning they may now have to engage with more varied funders, funding aims and forms. This situation is underexplored, prompting us to propose two new study frames to address it: researcher funding configurations and researcher funding trails. A configuration frames all a researcher’s concurrent funding instrument grants within a specified time window. A funding trail maps a researcher’s configurations over their scientific lifetime. These frames can help us study more accurately how funding connects to research(er) direction changes. We argue that without this reframing, we limit our analytical abilities to explore the effectiveness of contemporary research funding policies, programmes, and practices. In our chapter, we define configurations and trails, discuss what they afford analytically, and conclude with some further study considerations and policy implications.
RESEARCHERS' RESPONSES TO THEIR FUNDING SITUATION
Researchers find themselves in a changed resource environment to which they respond by developing a variety of strategies. This way, researchers seek to manage their research portfolios. Researchers’ responses can be categorised as changing the resource environment, resource acquisition strategies, resource use strategies, and adapting the content of research. All strategies have repercussions for the conduct and content of their research which are discussed for research in general as well as for unconventional research targeting scientific innovations. Steps towards a middle-range theory of relationships between funding conditions and the conduct and content of research are proposed.
GENDER AND UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITIES DIFFERENCES IN RESEARCH FUNDING
Cruz-Castro, L., Ginther, D.K., & Sanz-Menéndez, L.
This chapter reviews the data and literature on gender, race and ethnicity differences in research funding in the United States and Europe. The gender gap in research funding has closed at the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health in the United States and substantially narrowed in Europe. Underrepresented minorities are less likely to receive research funding than whites in the United States. We found that much of the literature was a series of informative independent studies where many of the potential explanations depended upon the context. Our examination of peer review also found contradictory evidence of its efficacy. The variety of countries, funders, and approaches to peer review make it difficult to make definitive conclusions in the face of contradictory evidence on the gender funding gap. We conclude that access to high-quality administrative data would allow for improved methodological approaches to understanding these differences in research funding.
RESEARCH FUNDING AND SCIENTIFIC CAREERS
Melkers, J., Woolley, R., & Kreth, Q.
In this chapter, we explore the catalytic human capital outcomes of grant funding, relevant to a career-stage model of research careers. To do this, we provide an overview of the state of knowledge on the relationship between funding and research careers. Because funding tools that target various career stages have emerged over time, we identify several important trends in research funding and their consequences for the support of research careers. Our discussion is organised around career stages to highlight the early, mid, and later career factors relevant to the design of funding instruments and how career scripts are reflected in and potentially shaped by these career-stage-specific instruments. We conclude with a discussion of the knowledge gaps relevant to improving our understanding of the relationships between research funding and academic careers, with suggestions for future research.
FUNDING AND ACADEMICS’ SCHOLARLY PERFORMANCE
Horta, H. & Li, H.
This chapter discusses how funding has influenced the performance of academics globally in the past 50 years. The analysis correlates the evolution of funding purposes and the conditions of sourcing funding with the changes observed in the academic profession and universities. The main argument focuses on how scholarly activities have been influenced by changing funding schemes that increasingly prioritise research- and knowledge-exchange projects and dynamics. It also discusses how these activities have influenced recruitment and the career progression of academics.
CONTEXT MATTERS: CONCEPTUALIZING RESEARCH FUNDING POLICIES THROUGH THE LENS OF THE VARIETIES OF ACADEMIC CAPITALISM APPROACH
Bégin-Caouette, O., Nakano Koga, S.M., & Maltais, É.
Research funding policies are both an expression of and a response to the globalisation of the knowledge society and its resulting competitive dynamics. The global dynamics of academic capitalism are, however, mediated by jurisdictions’ political economies, which, in turn, condition research funding policy mixes, policy coordination and policy outcomes. Relying on an integrative review of 75 scholarly documents and 15 OECD reports, this chapter compares research funding policies in 18 OECD countries accounting for three welfare regimes: liberal, conservative, and social-democratic. Ultimately, the review contributes to the consolidation of the emerging theoretical approach of the varieties of academic capitalism and broadens its application to allow for a systematic comparison of how policies and their outcomes are modulated by countries’ specific contexts.
SYSTEM LEVEL INSIGHTS ON PUBLIC FUNDING OF RESEARCH FROM EMERGING ECONOMIES
Funding scientific research requires adequate capabilities of funding entities to design and implement the instruments to channel those resources effectively. Furthermore, recipients of research funding must have the right attributes to use allocated resources in a way that achieves the objectives of the funding policies. The obviousness of these statements belies a relative lack of attention to the specific attributes and capabilities needed on both sides of the research funding equation. This chapter explores this issue by comparing four cases of emerging economy countries, two in South America and two in Central Europe. The cases show that, even in the presence of increased funding, the lack of proper capabilities and attributes of both funding and performing entities undermines their ability to achieve their scientific research potential. This challenge is also relevant to developed nations in their efforts to maintain their level of research performance.
PUBLIC RESEARCH FUNDING IN ASIAN LATECOMER COUNTRIES: DEVELOPMENTAL LEGACY AND DILEMMAS
This chapter discusses the distinctive features of public research funding in Asian latecomer countries. Public research funding of these countries has formed an integral part of their postwar developmental strategies to leverage science and technology for economic modernisation, which left strong footprints on the modes of research funding allocation. Many of these developmental legacies are discernible in the strategic utilisation of research and development for national goals as well as the active use of periodic central planning to pick winners. Having successfully caught up with advanced countries with enormous funding spurts, these countries now face common challenges to upgrade their public research funding systems so as to compete at the frontier of scientific discovery and technological innovations. This requires significant effort to handle post-catch-up dilemmas in setting the foci of research funding between different types and purposes of research, and to design incentive mechanisms to foster transformative research.
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