Competition for funding as an indicator of research competitiveness: The Spanish R&D government funding

Diciembre 2004
Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP) CSIC, Working Paper 2004-15

Clara E. García & Luis Sanz-Menéndez

Research quality is the cornerstone of modern science, it aids in the understanding of reputational differences among scientific and academic institutions. Traditionally, scientific activity is measured by a set of indicators and well-established bibliometric techniques bases on the number of academic papers published in top-ranked journals or on the number of citations of these papers. These indicators are usually critical in measuring differences in research performance, both at individual and at scientific institutional levels. In this paper, we introduce an alternative and complementary set of indicators based on the results of competition for research funding, that aim to enlarge the framework in which research performance has traditionally been measured. Theoretical support for this paper is found in the role that the search for funding plays in the researchers’ credibility cycle as well as in peer review, the basic instrument for the allocation of public R&D funds. Our method analyses the outcomes of the researchers’ struggle for funding, using data from research proposal applications and awards, as the unit of observation, and aggregating them by research institutions to rank them in relative scales of research competitiveness.