Size matters! On the implications of increasing the size of research grants", in: Lepori B., Jongbloed B. & Hicks D., Handbook of Public Research Funding,Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming in 2023.
Recent studies document an intensification in funding inequality and concentration in global science. Policies play a key role in these developments, particularly through the design of funding instruments, where a focus on larger research grants can contribute to resource concentration. The distribution of funding has repercussions for the science system at all levels, from individual researchers to institutions, regions, and. This raises issues concerning the consequences of increased concentration of research funding.
Motivated by this recent surge in studies addressing the concentration of funding and its consequences, this chapter will explore how the trends, rationales and implications of increases in the size of grants have developed in recent years. The purpose of the chapter is to provide an overview of the potential positive and negative impacts of increases in the size of research funding and existing evidence on the role of size. First, we examine the potential implications of trends towards increasing grant sizes and larger grant forms. Next, we synthesize the rationales behind these trends and discuss the implications of more recent developments. Finally, we take a closer look at recent empirical examples of increases in the average size of grants.