Research on Research › Forums › The differential value of different types and forms of research funding › Improving relationships between funders and institutions
- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 3 months ago by Alex Recio.
January 25, 2022 at 7:40 pm #1925KCraneParticipant
Some interesting discussion during the break-out session revolved around the notion that funders’ relationships with certain institutions/research groups (and in turn the institutions’/researchers’ previous experiences applying to certain funders) play a role in the – currently uneven – geographical distribution of success rates.
The more ‘established’ universities tend to have more established relationships with funders and as such their knowledge of certain funder policies around application criteria (e.g., previous experience with systematic reviews) facilitates funding success and importantly promotes the appropriate training of new investigators to ensure researcher experience evolves with funder criteria. ‘Smaller’ universities, on the other hand, lose out in this sense as not having these established relationships with funders means they are less aware of policies and have less ‘previous experience’ to satisfy criteria at the application stage.
What could be a possible solution? There needs to be a less ‘one-sided’ and more ‘dynamic’ role between both funders and HEIs in helping researchers obtain the research (e.g., methods) and/or ‘leadership’ (e.g., grant writing) experience they need to succeed in obtaining funding and also help establish a relationship with funders to promote further success. The NIHR’s Research Design Service is a good example of funder outreach that has received positive feedback from researchers.
What else can funders do to better serve smaller institutions or ‘niche’ fields? There needs to be better monitoring of conflict of interest at peer review and decision-making stages. There is a notion that either policies or monitoring are currently lacking in niche academic fields such as metaresearch (i.e., groups working outside of funders). When available funding is already limited for these fields, how can funders ensure that individual applications are not ‘blocked’ from progressing due to conflict of interest and unfair review? Examples of what could work is an ‘observatory’ (theoretical) or periodical audits of funders (e.g., AMRC) to ensure strong conflict of interest policies are in place and that poor success rates in certain research areas don’t create a vicious cycle.
Finally, smaller institutions are voicing the need for funders to implement more pro-innovation interventions that support blue-sky research specifically from these niche research groups. Although dedicated funding streams exist for innovative research and new investigators (e.g., at the NIH), these tend to be limited to large funders and it’s unclear how the relationship between HEI/group and funder plays into this.
February 7, 2022 at 9:44 am #1944Alex RecioKeymaster
Thinking of this: “helping researchers obtain the research (e.g., methods) and/or ‘leadership’ (e.g., grant writing) experience they need to succeed in obtaining funding”
A good topic for a Chatter session: experiences in applying for research funds. I’ll add it to our topics for the year!
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