Alternative research funding

Welcome to this Special Issue of EuroScientist on: Alternative research funding!

Like the wavy lines of the painting illustrating this issue, reinventing research funding may not follow a straight path. It may not happen overnight either.

In this special issue of EuroScientist, we explore the two facets of funding mechanisms that would need to be revisited: at the macro level, where R&D policy shapes the way research funding is allocated, and at micro level, where peer review shapes the way research funding is distributed.

At a macro level, the trouble is that research funding policy choices have been informed by static indicators of R&D performance for years. For as long as this was the only way of measuring research output, policy makers had to base their decisions on incomplete and imperfect information. But now that the our modelling and simulation capabilities have much evolved, it is time for science policy to take advantage of the granular picture offered by improved analysis tools, based on a vast array of R&D input indicators, and to correlate them with their effect over time. This approach could ultimately help decision makers apply policies that present a greater likelihood of yielding the desired research objectives, in line with society’s most pressing needs.

At a micro level, the trouble on that front is that peer-review may no longer be the best mechanism to fund research. And there is a growing consensus that alternative are needed, shying away from the current all-consuming bureaucratic sport it has now become. Or the current process needs, at least, to be adapted to encompass scientists’ achievements in their complexity and through all of their multidimensional expression and not just limited to bibliometric indicators. Read on our lead article by Anthony King to find out what are the alternatives funding approaches already tested.

Responding to our readers’ demand, we now make a print version of this special issue available, to make it easy for our readers to access it offline on a tablet or in print.


Funding policy tools: up for revamping

By Sabine Louët, EuroScientist editor.

No one-size-fits-all approach

Lead article:

Alternative modes of research funding: exceptions or growing trend?

By Anthony King, science journalist, Ireland.

Exclusive Skype interview, a case study of the Virtual Liver Network, Germany:

Adriano Henney: experimenting with novel funding mechanisms

By Sabine Louët, EuroScientist editor.

Research funding: trust, freedom and long-term vision pay off

By Thomas Sinkjær, Danish National Research Foundation, Denmark.

Read also our previously published article:

Under the diktat of paperwork

By Anthony King, science journalist, Ireland.

Mentors, mates or metrics: what are the alternatives to peer review?

By Arran Frood, science journalist, UK.

Science policy harnesses XXIst century modelling capabilities

Predicting science policy outcomes with agent-based model

By Petra Ahreweiler, European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment, Germany.

Economic models: ever evolving target for adequate policy making

By Torben Andersen, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

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Featured image credit: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Mark Chadwick

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