The Impact of Competitive Research Funding on Knowledge Production in Research Groups


Hanna Hottenrott
Thomas Schaper

Universities are important agents in knowledge-based economies. They generate scientific knowledge that spills over to the broader economy, for instance, by allowing firms to use scientific knowledge for their innovation activities. The growing importance of science-based industries puts additional emphasis on the question how scientific knowledge is generated and whether governments can impact knowledge generation through governance tools. In light of this, science systems have been subject to fundamental reforms including the allocation mechanisms for research funding. Funding competitions are accompanied by competition for the most talented researchers resulting in multiple competition between individuals, groups and organizations. The contribution of the proposed project is to investigate the effects of competitive research funding on knowledge generation in groups and by taking into account its interdependence with competition for researchers. Moreover, the project contributes to research on the role of “star scientists” by investigating whether an increased concentration of research funding results in an increased concentration of star-scientists in “winner groups”. The funding of “clusters of excellence” in Germany provides the ideal institutional setting for these analyses. The proposed research will strengthen the foundations on which evidence-based economic policy can be build.