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Home arrow Management arrow Promoting Research Excellence : New Approaches to Funding.


Scope of the project and structure of the report

In an attempt to obtain new data and evidence on how governments steer and fund public research, the OECD’s Working Party on Research Institutions and Human Resources (RIHR) launched a project, “New Forms of Incentive Funding for Public Research”. The project focused on higher education institutions (HEIs) and public research institutions (PRIs). It aimed to capture a new type of public research funding, as relatively little is known in a systematic and comparable way about REIs.7

This report is the outcome of the RIHR project in OECD and partner countries. The research was carried out in several stages. In stage one, a literature review was conducted and a concept paper was prepared to provide an overview of REI models and identify specific features of this type of funding. The paper was discussed at an OECD workshop on 29 November 2012, which brought together policy makers, funding practitioners, national experts and leaders from centres of excellence (CoEs) funded by REIs.

In stage two of the project, a questionnaire to research ministries or departments responsible for administering REI funding in HEIs and PRIs was distributed by country delegates to the RIHR Working Party. Responses came from 20 countries: Australia, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany (including six German Lander), Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and the United States. In all, 56 different funding schemes were reported. The results are presented in Chapter 2.

Following a preliminary analysis of the responses from the 20 countries, 28 schemes in 18 countries were found to fit the project definition.8 These countries were invited to take part in stage three of the project, the distribution of an electronic survey9 to CoEs and host institutions that receive REI funding. Responses were received from 304 centres in 14 countries and 99 host institutions in ten countries.10 Chapter 3 presents the results of the survey to CoEs and describes their characteristics, including funding schemes and cycles, mechanisms used to foster networks and interdisciplinary research, research impact and perceived value of REIs. Chapter 4 describes the characteristics of the institutions that host CoEs, the funding schemes and the perceived effects of REIs on research activities.

In addition to the surveys, delegates were invited to conduct a country case study based on a common template. Case studies were provided by Denmark, Germany, Japan, Norway, Portugal and Slovenia. Chapters 5 to 10, “Country case studies”, builds on the analysis presented in earlier chapters by providing a more in-depth analysis of the strategies followed by each country in establishing and supporting the activities of CoEs and host institutions. Figure 1.8 provides an overview of the project as well as country participation.

Figure 1.8. Project organisation and participation

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