Does it pay to do novel science? The selectivity patterns in science funding

Charles Ayoubi, Michele Pezzoni & Fabiana Visentin


Public funding of science aims to provide the necessary investment for the radical scientific discoveries of tomorrow. This paper brings evidence that the funding process is not always awarding the most novel scientists. Exploiting rich data on all applications to a leading Swiss research funding program, we find that novel scientists have a higher probability of applying for funds than non-novel scientists, but they get on average lower ratings by grant evaluators and have lower chances of being funded.

Keywords: competitive research grants, public funding evaluation, novelty in science

JEL Classification: I23, O38

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