July 4, 2013

The effects of research grants on scientific productivity and utilisation

This CPB Discussion Paper investigates the effect of receiving a grant from the Dutch Technology Foundation STW on the research output of an individual researcher.
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We find no evidence that STW grant receipt increases research output for the general funding programme (OTP) whereas the results indicate an increase in the number of scientific publications for the thematic programmes.

Read also: CPB Discussion Paper 249

STW funds application-oriented research by equally weighting academic quality and utilisation of submitted research proposals. Research output is therefore measured along these two criteria, that is, publications and citations for scientific productivity and publications with industry and patent applications for utilisation. STW roughly distinguishes two types of funding instruments, i.e. the Open Technology Programme (OTP) in which research proposals from different disciplines compete against each other and the thematic programmes on specific research themes with more prominent industrial involvement. We are able to identify causal effects of such a grant on research output by exploiting the discontinuity in the relationship between the priority scores assigned to each proposal and receiving an STW grant. We find no evidence that an STW grant has a positive effect on scientific productivity or utilisation for the OTP. However, we do find significantly positive effects of an STW grant on publication rates within the thematic programmes. Grant receipt in thematic programmes leads to six additional publications including one co-authored by industry professionals over the next four years.

This academic discussion paper is an example of the CPB’s work on science policy. Another discussion paper is published simultaneously on the effects of individual research grants (NWO Vernieuwingsimpuls or IRI-grants) on academic careers (CPB Discussion Paper 249).


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