Does It Pay to Do Novel Science? The Selectivity Patterns in Science Funding

Charles Ayoubi*, Michele Pezzoni, Fabiana Visentin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Public funding agencies aim to fund novel breakthrough research to promote the radical scientific discoveries of tomorrow. Identifying the profiles of scientists being financed to pursue their research is therefore crucial. This paper shows that the funding process is not always awarding the most novel scientists. Exploiting rich data on all applications to a leading Swiss research funding program, we find that novel scientists have a higher probability of applying for funds than non-novel scientists, but they get on average lower ratings by grant evaluators and have fewer chances of being funded. We discuss the implications for the allocation of scientific research spending.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalScience and Public Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

JEL classifications

  • i23 - Higher Education and Research Institutions
  • o38 - Technological Change: Government Policy


  • public funding
  • scientific research
  • novelty
  • selectivity
  • research evaluation

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