The proposed project will focus on competitive research project funding schemes that work through call for proposals mechanisms and have the scientific quality as the main (but not unique) evaluation criteria. These schemes are most often administered by public research funding agencies or NGOs. Institutional funding mechanisms and procurement exercises will not be included.
The activity will have four main goals:
- To develop a typology of competitive funding mechanisms and their component parts (duration of the funding, individual vs project support etc.) and compile existing published evidence on their relative effectiveness .
- To describe the prevalence of these mechanisms within participating countries, and consider whether contextual factors make different components of these mechanisms more or less appropriate. Contextual factors include specific policy goals, the characteristics of different national science systems, and the field or focus of the research funding.
- To gather and synthesise available qualitative and quantitative evidence on impacts for different competitive systems, and consider whether such evidence lends itself to a reliable international analysis (considering the available performance indicators). Impact should be understood as including impact on the science funding system (cost effectiveness, burden on the peer review system, etc.), impact on the quality/excellence of the scientific output (bibliometrics etc.), and impact on the scientific system (human resources and careers etc.).
- To make policy recommendations (qualified by the availability and quality of evidence) on the desirability of different competitive funding mechanisms, considering trade-offs between administrative efficiency, transparency, quality of decision-making and research, including unintended consequences or spill overs.