Funder Data Platform
Accelerator For Innovation & Research Funding Experimentation
AFIRE (Accelerator For Innovation & Research Funding Experimentation) is a new collaboration between RoRI, the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL) and a consortium of our partners to boost leadership and institutional capacity for the design, implementation and synthesis of experiments with research and innovation funding.
Our aims are to enhance:
Interest in experiments is growing, but different research funders are at different stages of readiness as reported by the RORI–SNSF—EMBO—IGL workshop, December 2021 (internal report ‘RoRI Funder Lab: improving research funding processes through experimentation’). AFIRE will provide a broad platform which is accessible to funders at all levels of engagement, combined with structured support to work with funders to increase the speed and ambition of their engagement with experiments. The project will build on RoRI’s successful collaboration with IGL and, through them, bring in expertise in experimental methods, workshop facilitation and their experience working with innovation agencies.
AFIRE will consolidate and extend RoRI’s role as a leading broker for research funding experimentation. The project will be led by Tom Stafford, senior research fellow at RoRI and professor of cognitive science at the University of Sheffield, in partnership with Albert Bravo-Biosca and team at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL). Speaking about plans for AFIRE, Tom Stafford said:
“Good funder experiments take rigour and imagination. It’s exciting to be part of a project which is able to draw on both, from across the RoRI network of expertise. Together we’ll be able to support more experiments and better use of experimental evidence to improve research funding.”
Tom Stafford (RoRI/Sheffield)
Cindy Lopez-Bento (KU Leuven)
Ines Rombach (RoRI, Sheffield)
James Wilsdon (RoRI/UCL)
Stephen Curry (RoRI/Imperial)
Helen Buckley Woods (RoRI, UCL)
Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner (CWTS)
Teo Firpo (IGL, Nesta)
Albert Bravo-Biosca (IGL, Nesta)
James Phipps (IGL, Nesta)
During RoRI’s pilot phase, we identified three priority topics for funder experimentation:
Scoping work on these and related topics is ongoing with a vanguard of our experimentally-minded partners, including: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF), Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR), Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and Health Research BC.
AFIRE is designed to bring in other partners, and foster new, more ambitious experiments, creating a structured pathway for research and innovation funders to begin, expand and/or report the findings of their experimental interventions in priority-setting, grantmaking, review and evaluation.
The AFIRE platform will consist of:
The project would develop a roadmap to structure partner engagement within the forum, sprint and structured support; based on a prioritisation of needs and commensurate expectations on work required from the partners.