Alternative research funding

Welcome to this special issue 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 the 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 sporit 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.


 No one-size-fits-all approach

Science policy harnesses XXIst century modelling capabilities

And finally

  • Read this special issue in the Funding section of our Noowit edition.

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Photo Credit: Mark Chadwick Flickr

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