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Concentration of Danish research funding on individual researchers and research topics: Patterns and potential drivers

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The degree of concentration in research funding has long been a principal matter of contention in science policy. Strong concentration has been seen as a tool for optimizing and focusing research investments but also as a damaging path towards hypercompetition, diminished diversity, and conservative topic selection. While several studies have documented funding concentration linked to individual funding organizations, few have looked at funding concentration from a systemic perspective. In this article, we examine nearly 20,000 competitive grants allocated by 15 major Danish research funders. Our results show a strongly skewed allocation of funding towards a small elite of individual researchers, and towards a select group of research areas and topics. We discuss potential drivers and highlight that funding concentration likely results from a complex interplay between funders’ overlapping priorities, excellence-dominated evaluation criteria, and lack of coordination between both public and private research funding bodies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQuantitative Science Studies
Pages (from-to)1159-1181
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Diversity, Funding concentration, Research funding, Research policy, Research priorities

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