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Key Success Drivers in Public Research Grants: Funding the Seeds of Radical Innovation in Academia?

36 Pages Posted: 5 May 2016  

Albert Banal-Estañol

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business (DEB); City University London - Department of Economics

Ines Macho-Stadler

Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

David Pérez Castrillo

Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: April 13, 2016

Abstract

We study what makes a research grant application successful in terms of ability, type of research, experience, and demographics of the applicants. But our main objective is to investigate whether public funding organizations support the teams that are most likely to undertake transformative or “radical” research. Making use of the literature on recombinant innovation, we characterize such “radical teams” as those formed by eclectic and non-usual collaborators, and those that are heterogeneous and scientifically diverse. Our results, using data from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), show that the more able, more basic, and more senior researchers, working in a top university, are more likely to be successful. But, radical teams are less likely to be funded by funding bodies. Our analysis of the research output of the awarded projects suggests that, voluntarily or involuntarily, the evaluation process in these organizations is biased against radical teams.

Keywords: radical innovation, funding organizations, research grants

JEL Classification: O320, I230

Suggested Citation

Banal-Estañol, Albert and Macho-Stadler, Ines and Pérez Castrillo, David, Key Success Drivers in Public Research Grants: Funding the Seeds of Radical Innovation in Academia? (April 13, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5852. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2774648

Albert Banal Estañol

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business (DEB) ( email )

Barcelona, 08005
Spain

City University London - Department of Economics ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

Ines Macho-Stadler (Contact Author)

Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona ( email )

Departamento de Economia e Historia Economica
08193 Barcelona
Spain

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

David Pérez Castrillo

Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona ( email )

Edifici B - Campus Bellaterra
Barcelona, 08193
Spain
(34 93) 381 1405 (Phone)
(34 93) 581 2012 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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