Research funding landscape analysis


As demands intensify for research to address societal missions or challenges such as climate change, ageing or pandemic preparedness, research funders have developed a growing mix of topic-specific funding instruments. To assess how well such instruments are delivering against their stated goals, we often need to analyse entire portfolios, rather than individual projects.

This project will use research funding landscape analysis to better understand the effects of funding programmes aimed at tackling societal challenges. It will focus on the role of specific funding agencies and programmes in meeting selected missions or challenges, and analyse how and why outcomes differ across countries, funding modes and policy instruments. 

Image: During RoRI’s pilot phase, CWTS and RoRI developed a pilot research landscape funding tool.

Processes that drive concentrations of research funding in certain areas are often unclear. We will analyse funded and unfunded applications to targeted and non-targeted funding programmes to better understand these processes. This analysis will be performed on RoRI’s Funder Data Platform (FDP): a dedicated environment for secure sharing of funder data.

The project aims to generate evidence to support policymakers and funders in designing policies, funding instruments and evaluation criteria better able to steer towards and accelerate intended changes in the research funding landscape. 

Headline questions for the project include:

  • How do research funding landscapes (in terms of the range of topics being funded) differ across funding agencies and countries?
  • To what extent do the research funding landscapes of specific agencies align with perceived societal challenges, needs and priorities? 
  • Do targeted funding calls produce a sustained shift in research landscapes towards the desired directions?
  • How far is the concentration of research funding driven by factors such as: differences in application propensity; success rates; competitive funding availability; and block grant support?

Project team

Ismael Rafols, Senior Research Fellow, RoRI and CWTS-Leiden  

Vincent Traag, Senior Research Fellow, RoRI and CWTS-Leiden  

Jens Peter Andersen, Senior Research Fellow, RoRI and CFA, Aarhus University

Emer Brady, Research Fellow, RoRI and CFA, Aarhus University

Jesper Schneider, CFA, Aarhus University

Greta Kaufeld, Swiss National Science Foundation 

Partners and steering group

The Portfolios working group includes the following RoRI partners: 

Swiss National Science Foundation

Novo Nordisk Foundation

NWO–Dutch Research Council

Research Team

Timeline and outputs

This is a two-year project running until autumn 2025. It will produce a RoRI working paper, journal article, and presentations for funders and at international conferences. The development of new methodologies for research funding landscape analyses can also be extended and applied to a variety of questions in research funding.