Book of Abstracts

Funding scientific research: How to foster knowledge and innovation fairly and efficiently?


 

Advancing the Austrian Science Landscape: Opportunities and Priorities

Gregor Weihs (FWF Austrian Science Fund)

Research funding is subject to many demands and pressures from a variety of stakeholders whose priorities diverge. The FWF is the main competitive funding source for basic research in Austria and an advocate for researchers of all disciplines. There seems to be a consensus that competitive research funding in Austria has to increase so that Austrian research can keep up with the international competition. Yet, stakeholders disagree about the types of programs the FWF should offer and on how much money and effort should be spent on initiatives like open science. In my talk I will analyze the Austrian funding situation and outline the FWF’s medium-term strategy.

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Theoretical Research without Projects

Miguel Navascués (IQOQI – Vienna)

Within this short talk, we will present an idea for a funding scheme for theoretical research that does not rely on project proposals, but on recent past scientific productivity. Given a quantitative figure of merit on the latter and the total research budget, we will introduce a number of policies to decide the allocation of funds in each grant call. Under some assumptions on scientific productivity, some of such policies can be shown to converge, in the limit of many grant calls, to a funding configuration that is close to the maximum total productivity of the whole scientific community. We will present numerical simulations showing evidence that these schemes would also perform well in the presence of statistical noise in the scientific productivity and/or its evaluation. Finally, we will prove that one of our policies cannot be cheated by individual research units. This proposal must be understood as a first step towards a mathematical theory of the research activity.

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