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REIs as stand-alone scheme with no sub-divisions

REIs in this category have a separate funding scheme with only one set of criteria and regulations applicants must adhere to. This is the most common type in the present survey and covers all REIs except those mentioned in the following two categories. Even if an REI is a “stand-alone” scheme, it is often just one element in a jurisdiction’s overall research funding strategy.

REIs with several lines of funding

An REI might have several lines of funding, each serving a special purpose in reaching the REI’s overall goal. Korea’s WCU programme, for example, distinguishes three lines of funding, depending on whether foreign scholars are invited to Korea to establish a new academic department, to join an existing department as full-time faculty members, or as part-time members active in research and teaching.27 Each of these lines of funding has different regulations concerning the amount and duration of funding, among other things.

The Austrian REI, COMET, has three funding lines. For K1 and K2, the centres are obliged to co-operate with research institutes and industry, but differ in terms of size and duration: K1 centres have a seven-year funding period, and the government contributes at most EUR 2.3 million a year; K2 funding is for ten years, and the annual contribution is at most EUR 7.5 million a year. The third line, K-Projects, supports the same type of cooperation as K1 and K2, but funding is on a smaller scale, and the potential for practical implementation is particularly important. Moreover, unlike K1 and K2 centres, K- Projects are not separate legal entities.

Germany’s Excellence Initiative is sub-divided into a hierarchy along funding lines. The line of funding called Institutional Strategies is above the other two lines, so that inclusion in the other two funding lines is a precondition of eligibility for Institutional Strategies. The rationale is that to qualify for the best-endowed line of the REI, a university must first give proof of its excellence by succeeding in the first two.

Another form of hierarchy is found in the Portuguese Multi-Year Funding Programme. Research units that have been awarded excellence status can subsequently be named Associate Laboratories if they succeed in achieving sufficient critical mass to justify this status.

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