Economists unsatisfied with FP and European Research Council

Economists unsatisfied with FP and ERC

A recent report on Research Funding for Economics in Europe has revealed trends in attitudes and behaviours for economics research funding.

To assess the state of European integration for research in economics, a survey was conducted, inviting members of the European Economic Association (EEA) to answer questions about their experiences with research funding.

The results of the survey show that scholars are “not entirely satisfied with either the Framework Programme or the European Research Council”. Many of the issues concerning economists mirror those cited by scientists – flexibility, adequate funding and simplification of application process. Economists are also particularly concerned by the need for a competent and transparent evaluation process and also lack funding opportunities at all career stages.

The survey also highlights different attitudes and practices across Europe. While the main drivers for applying for research funding are consistent across borders – sufficient funding, low admin costs, chances of success, the availability of national funding for economics research determines the behaviour towards European funding. The more satisfied researchers are with their national funding options, the more critical they are of European grant authorities. This was particularly evident in respondents from the UK and Scandinavia. Italian national agencies were perceived to be the worst and the stability of national grants is a major problem for Italian researchers.

National public grants dominate the research income for Spain, Turkey and other continental countries. In contrast, funding from a researcher’s own institution is mostly relevant in the UK, Scandinavia and Germany, which are the same countries that perceive a better research environment overall. In relative terms, Scandinavian countries have increased their research budgets most rapidly.

The report published by Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, represents an interesting insight to the landscape of research funding across Europe.

Economists unsatisfied with FP and ERC

Leila Sattary

Leila is a freelance science writer specialising in science funding and research policy. She is a former editor of EuroScientist. She writes for a variety of online and print journals including news and features for Chemistry World, her Lab Rant column for Laboratory News and many more. In her day job she works as a Project Officer at the University of Oxford with particular interest in research policy, knowledge exchange and impact.
Leila Sattary

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