Dansk Center for Forskningsanalyse

Tracing researcher 'funding configurations': Some initial approaches and challenges

Publikation: Working paperForskning

Research funding of public science has been changing in recent decades. One consequence is researchers concurrently may have to use multiple funding sources with perhaps differing characteristics. Tracing these (co-)funding dynamics and how assorted funding mixes might influence research is important. Few approaches exist in previous literature to guide such an effort. This working paper takes initial steps by suggesting tracing approaches and undertaking exploratory fieldwork to refine them. To anchor our tracing, we propose a novel concept of the ‘funding configuration’ of ‘funding instruments’ (e.g. grants) concurrently held by a researcher at a particular time. We suggest ‘technical’ and ‘analytical’ categories to characterise these instruments, tracing who is funding research (‘type’ and ‘origin’) and for what aims (i.e. to generate ‘scholarly’ or ‘societal’ impacts). We trace selected funding dynamics in Renewable Energy Research and Food Science for researchers affiliated to Danish, Dutch and Norwegian public research organisations. We use funding acknowledgements (FAs) self-reported in papers specifically to study attributable funding configurations of researchers. These cases are filtered from a bespoke dataset of Web of Science FA metadata, covering 2009 to 2018. We characterise over 50 funding instruments and describe funding dynamics for 12 researchers, based on desk-based tracing, and gain insights from interviewing four researchers. We encounter challenges around limited public availability of funding data. Some of our tested categories to characterise funding instruments (whether funding is competitive and recurrent) prove difficult to determine while others (type and origin) are validated. Funding instruments held by researchers emerge as nuanced, with hybrid blends of ‘scholarly’ and ‘societal’ characteristics, rather than these being mutually exclusive. We finally propose revisions to address these characterisation challenges, and to trace more accurately researcher funding configurations in future.
Antal sider33
StatusUdgivet - 30 sep. 2020

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