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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Research Funding, Researchers and the Incentives in between. New Perspectives for Understanding Effects of Research Funding

Comparative Politics
Policy Analysis
Barend van der Meulen
Rathenau Instituut, The Hague
Barend van der Meulen
Rathenau Instituut, The Hague

For long science policy studies have assumed there are national science systems, driven by national funding mechanisms, and comparable in performance. Now that regional, European and private funders are becoming science policy actors, there is an urgent need for new conceptualizations of the relation between policy instruments and scientific practices.

Effects of policy incentives are a result of responses at two levels. The first is the lowest organizational unit responsible for implementing national science policies. The second comprises research group leaders, who develop research strategies within their field(s).

We surveyed 80% of all deans of Dutch universities and members of the scientific elite about the combined effect of national policy incentives, organizational strategies and research dynamics. We expect that effects of national policies are contingent upon local circumstances. In our discussion section we will reflect on possibilities for international comparative studies along dimensions such as disciplines or universities.
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