Tag Archives: Research funding

FCT head resigns, amid Portuguese research community survival plea

A new episode in the controversy related to the evaluation of Portuguese research units has recently been played out. The high profile resignation of the president of the Portuguese funding agency FCT in March 2015, is yet another chapter in an unfinished murky business. Now that half of the country’s research units have been earmarked for closure, the science community is attempting to fight back to save the fate of the country’s research talents, built over the past few decades by pouring large amounts of tax payers’ money to create such science expertise. Read more [...]

Joining the dots: unprecedented level of pan-European research activism

Research activism in Europe is about to transcend borders. Forthcoming protests movements planned for around mid-October in France, Italy and Spain are not a coincidence. Scientists will rally their respective capitals—be it on their bike or on foot—as a result of unprecedented concerted planning. Up until recently, the scientists involved did not collaborate across borders to campaign for a change in their own working environment. Yet, they are no strangers to international collaboration when it comes to collaborative research projects. So what triggered this shift in attitude? Read more [...]

For the sake of Italian science and culture

Italian scientific research and university systems are in a dramatic position. The poisonous fruit of the recently approved university reform—referred to as the Gelmini law— assisted by the actions of successive governments, are reaching their goal: downsizing the university system and introducing a political control, never attempted before, on basic research. Now a vast movement of researchers across Europe is organising a series of initiatives during the autumn with the aim of bringing research and innovation to the public attention and at the centre of governments’ action. Read more [...]

Special issue on alternative research funding – Print Edition

This post is designed to allow our readers to convert the full issue into a single PDF file, that can be read offline or in print. We are introducing such printer and tablet-ready version of the EuroScientist to respond to the expectations of our readers, who have expressed the need to access the magazine when they are not connected to the internet, so that they can read it at their leisure, while travelling for example. As a participatory magazine, we encourage you, our readers, to provide further feedback so that we can make the magazine more accessible and relevant to you. Read more [...]

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 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. Read more [...]

Funding policy tools: up for revamping

The research ecosystem is in constant evolution. Funding policy tools, however, have not evolved as fast as the research activity itself. At the macroscopic scale, the policy shaping the way research funding is allocated could be improved by gaining more precise evidence-base of the potential effect of policy choices in achieving desired research objectives. Indeed, the science underpinning the research funding policy—also known as the science of science policy—is in infancy. Read more [...]

Alternative modes of research funding: exceptions or growing trend?

Peer-review of projects dominates when it comes to decision on how to allocate funding for science. But is it really the best way? Funders certainly think so. Over 95% of biomedical funding in the UK, for example, relied on peer-review grant allocations, a 2012 report found. In the absence of tried and tested alternative, peer review has become the default solution. But there is a clear demand for new and less onerous ways of funding research. Read more [...]

Adriano Henney: experimenting with novel funding mechanisms

Adriano Henney has been pursuing his interest in Systems Biology, as programme manager for a major German national flagship programme: the Virtual Liver Network (VLN).In this exclusive interview he shares his views on alternative ways of organising research funding based on his experience with the unique funding and management structure of the VLN. He also talks about ways of possibilities of applying alternative research funding approaches at the EU level. Read more [...]

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

A recipe for how to stimulate breakthrough research would include the following ingredients: long-term commitments, large flexible grants, trust, and the funding body’s continuing interest in the research. This is precisely the approach that the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF) has adopted with its ‘Centres of Excellence’ concept, over the past 22 years. The foundation’s core activity is to fund frontline research in highly creative environments. By recognising and trusting the talent of top researchers, the foundation expects them to deliver potentially ground breaking results. Read more [...]

Predicting science policy outcomes with agent-based model

Today, investments in R&D—be it through higher education institutions or science-industry networks—are expected to immediately produce high commercial returns. Science policymakers, innovation managers, and even the public are often disappointed and raise legitimacy issues, when such returns fail to materialise promptly. These situations show the limits of conventional steering, control and policy making associated with research funding. Better solutions to help improve returns from research funding are therefore needed. Unfortunately, what is referred to as the science of science policy is still in its infancy. Read more [...]