EU Science Hub

Performance-based research funding in EU Member States - a comparative assessment

Performance-based research funding (PBRF), the allocation of institutional funding on the basis of ex post assessments of university research performance, has been implemented in a large number of EU Member States. However, the characteristics of this funding scheme differ widely. Apart from differences in the volume of funding, there are major variations in the assessments that feed into the funding allocation formula. Even within the two main groups of metrics based and peer review-based assessments the approaches adopted vary. Some of the main strengths and drawbacks of the various options are discussed in this article. An analysis of national Global Budgetary Allocations for R&D data reveals the distribution of project and institutional funding and the potential for PBRF. Given the heterogeneity of performance-based funding approaches, a comprehensive comparative assessment of the funding involved in this instrument requires further work. Nonetheless Member State governments can engage in institutional learning from good practices.