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Societal targeting in researcher funding: An exploratory approach

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Shaping public research to enhance its societal contribution has become a key policy concern. Against this background, how research funding may stimulate the societal orientation of scientific research—or how funding is societally targeted—has been underexplored. This article proposes an exploratory approach to characterize societal targeting in individual researcher funding, based on four key societal targeting dimensions: interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, prioritized research problems and user-oriented outputs. All these targeting dimensions of funding can potentially shape both researchers’ research networks and practices towards societal goals. These dimensions can be identified in context by studying ex ante specifications of funding instruments, i.e. rules and conditions for funding provision to researchers. We illustrate the dimensions in various degrees using two real cases of national public research funding. This systematic perspective on funding instrument characteristics then can potentially improve research evaluation, by allowing assessment in more detail of which funding dimensions associate with particular kinds of research ultimately being undertaken.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Evaluation
Pages (from-to)202-213
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

    Research areas

  • societal targeting; dimensions; research funding; researchers; exploratory approach; funding instruments, research funding, researchers, TRENDS, exploratory approach, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH, POLICY, funding instruments, RESEARCH IMPACT, CONSTRAINTS, TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH, SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY, societal targeting, AFFORDANCES, dimensions

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