One REI or many?
The survey results that will be presented in Chapter 2 show that some countries organise one REI, whereas others have several. In the first case, the REI is usually open to all sorts of research (with a tendency to favour basic research), whereas in the second, each REI has a different focus. Disregarding Germany, with its federal structure, Norway and Sweden have the most REIs, and the purpose of each scheme is clear. The Norwegian CoE scheme and the Swedish Linnaeus Grants are typical examples of an open competition for excellent basic research with a strategic impact on the host institution; the Norwegian
Centres for Research-based Innovation (CRI) scheme and the Swedish Berzelii Centres emphasis linkages between academic and industrial partners; and the Norwegian and Swedish Strategic Research Areas (SRA) schemes are about funding national priority areas. In other countries, these three components are often intertwined within a single scheme. Which of the two approaches is more effective cannot be deduced from the data analysed in this report, and it certainly depends on each country’s research funding structures. It may be assumed that one comprehensive initiative is better able to provide an effective boost to the research system (this was observable in Germany), whereas a multitude of specialised REIs can address political needs in a more targeted way.