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Extramural research grants and scientists’ funding strategies: Beggars cannot be choosers?

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  • Grimpe, Christoph

Abstract

Although competitive funding of public research has been characterised as providing output incentives that raise efficiency and productivity, we know very little about whether the quality of a scientist's research is in fact the primary award criterion on which funding bodies base their grant decision. This paper provides insights into scientists’ strategies for obtaining project-based research funding in the presence of multiple funding opportunities. It draws a distinction between four types of grants, including the Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6), government, foundation, and industry grants. Based on a sample of more than 800 scientists at universities and public research institutes in Germany, the results indicate that scientist productivity measured in terms of publication and patent stock is a statistically significant determinant only for obtaining foundation and industry grants while the award of an FP6 or government grant is influenced by other characteristics. The results further show that the different grants are not complementary, i.e. scientists specialise in certain grants. In this respect, the analysis informs science, technology and innovation policy about potential discrepancies between policy rhetoric, stipulated award criteria, and actual funding outcomes which makes it possible to fine-tune the debate on how public research should be financed.

Suggested Citation

  • Grimpe, Christoph, 2012. "Extramural research grants and scientists’ funding strategies: Beggars cannot be choosers?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1448-1460.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:41:y:2012:i:8:p:1448-1460
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.03.004
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    1. repec:kap:sbusec:v:48:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-016-9795-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Albert Banal-Estañol & Inés Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo, 2016. "Key Success Drivers in Public Research Grants: Funding the Seeds of Radical Innovation in Academia?," Working Papers 890, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Fedderke, J.W. & Goldschmidt, M., 2015. "Does massive funding support of researchers work?: Evaluating the impact of the South African research chair funding initiative," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 467-482.
    4. Aschhoff, Birgit & Grimpe, Christoph, 2014. "Contemporaneous peer effects, career age and the industry involvement of academics in biotechnology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 367-381.
    5. Hottenrott, Hanna & Lawson, Cornelia, 2013. "Fishing for Complementarities: Competitive Research Funding and Research Productivity," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201318, University of Turin.
    6. Broström, Anders, 2018. "Academic breeding grounds: Home department conditions and early career performance of academic researchers," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 465, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
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    8. D. Thorleuchter & D. Van Den Poel, 2012. "Technology Classification with Latent Semantic Indexing," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/814, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
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    10. Materia, V.C. & Pascucci, S. & Kolympiris, C., 2015. "Understanding the selection processes of public research projects in agriculture: The role of scientific merit," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 87-99.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Research funding; Scientist productivity; Sixth Framework Programme;

    JEL classification:

    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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