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The effect of public funding on scientific performance: A comparison between China and the EU

Lili Wang (), Xianwen Wang (), Fredrik Niclas Piro () and Niels Philipsen ()
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Xianwen Wang: Dalian University of Technology
Fredrik Niclas Piro: Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education
Niels Philipsen: RILE, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and METRO, Maastricht University

No 45, MERIT Working Papers from United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT)

Abstract: Public funding is believed to play an important role in the development of science and technology. However, whether public funding actually helps to increase scientific output (i.e. publications) remains a matter of debate. By analysing a dataset of co-publications between China and the EU and a dataset of joint project collaborations in European Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation (FP7 & H2020), we investigate whether different public funding agencies have different goals in their research policy. Our results support the hypotheses that funded research output represents the intentions of funding sponsors and a high level of public funding does not necessarily lead to high scientific output. Our results show that FP7/H2020 funded projects do not have a positive contribution to the output of joint publications between China and the EU. Interestingly, cooperation in the form of jointly writing proposals to these EU programmes, especially when they are not granted by the European Commission, can contribute significantly to joint scientific publications at a later stage. This applies in particular to cases where funding from China is involved. Our findings highlight the key role that funding agencies play in influencing research performance. While the Chinese government is interested in pursuing a high number of publications, the EU cares more about the social impact and indirect effect, which is hard to measure in the short term.

Keywords: Public funding; research evaluation; scientific output; international collaboration; China; EU member states (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F02 H52 O20 O38 O52 O53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-11-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna, nep-ppm, nep-tid and nep-tra
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