Funding Structures in Basic Research and Their Impact on Research

A systematic survey of the literature was used to identify differences in research grant funding which may impact on research outcomes, among them overall funding levels, funding portfolio, success rates, differences in grant design such as lot size and grant duration, the amount of overheads paid as well as differences in review criteria. This catalogue of characteristics enables a systematic comparison of the funding activities of the largest Austrian Science Funds in the USA (NIH and NSF), the United Kingdom (UKRI), Germany (DFG), the Netherlands (NWO), Switzerland (SNF) and Austria (FWF). There are major differences between the grant funding agencies, both in terms of funding levels or success rates, but also in terms of grant design and peer review, which are likely to impact on research outcomes. From the comparison, implications for the design of an Austrian Excellence Initiative can be derived.