Our Projects
We want to make positive changes to
1
Decisions
2
Careers
3
Cultures

Decisions

Decision-making is a crucial theme for RoRI and its partners, with multiple dimensions:

  • Prioritisation: How are high-level priorities set within research systems - by governments, funders, research institutions and others? How effective are framing devices, such as challenges and missions, and what effects do these have? How do we determine an appropriate balance between responsive, discovery-led research, and more directed and applied modes? What role, if any, should geography and place play in research prioritisation? How can we ensure diverse perspectives in prioritisation - including from the global south and marginalised groups - and can we identify the effects of greater diversity on the qualities and outcomes of decision-making?

  • Productivity: What do we mean by scientific productivity, and how do we measure it? Is it true that 'Science is getting less bang for its buck'or that ideas are 'getting harder to find?' Do national and regional disparities in research intensity translate into disparities in economic performance?

  • Allocation: What is the relationship between grant and team size, and research outcomes and impacts? What are the effects of introducing new modes of allocation, such as randomisation, on diversity, outcomes and researcher burden? What's the problem with a bias against novelty, and what are optimal levels of novelty in any system?

  • Measurement and evaluation: What is the state of the art in measurement of outcomes and impact? How can we broaden and diversify criteria and indicators used in the evaluation of research and researchers? How do we interrogate claims of impact and treatment effects, hold funders more accountable, and avoid capture by disciplinary or other vested interests?

    Careers

    Research careers is a second priority area, which includes:

    • Pathways: How can we develop more robust and comparative methods and data for tracking the career destinations and contributions of PhD researchers? What lessons can be drawn from national systems doing this more effectively and applied elsewhere? How can funders and institutions better understand and support diverse career pathways, and avoid precarity and unnecessary loss of skills and talent from the research system?
    • Incentives: How can incentive structures better recognise and reward diverse roles and contributions (e.g. to research impacts, leadership, open research, team science, interdisciplinarity)? How can funding and evaluation modes reduce burden on individuals and wastage of time/resources (e.g. through low success rates; excessive bureaucracy)?

    • Mobility: How are patterns of researcher mobility changing, within and between national systems? To what extent will significant geopolitical changes, such as Brexit, influence patterns of researcher mobility?

      Cultures

      Research cultures is another priority area, where we expect to focus in three areas:

      • Open research: How do we overcome the 'incentives impasse' that prevents open research practices from being effectively recognised and rewarded in funding, hiring, promotion and other evaluation processes (at project, grant and individual level)?

      • Equality, diversity and inclusion: How can we replicate successful initiatives by funders, research institutions, publishers and others to support a more diverse and inclusive research system? What are the most pressing gaps or areas of unevenness in the available data on equality, diversity and inclusion?

      • Trust, integrity and reproducibility: How can funders and others build on recent progress and successful initiatives designed to encourage more open and reproducible research practices? What is the relationship between improvements to the internal workings of research systems, and wider levels of public and societal trust and confidence in researchers and research evidence?
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