The important thing is not to win, it is to take part: What if scientists benefit from participating in research grant competitions?

C. Ayoubi*, M. Pezzoni, F. Visentin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Web of Science)
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"The important thing is not to win, it is to take part," this famous saying by Pierre de Coubertin asserts that the value athletes draw from Olympic games lies in their participation in the event and not in the gold they collect during it. We find similar evidence for scientists involved in grant competitions. Relying on unique data from a Swiss funding program, we find that scientists taking part in a research grant competition boost their number of publications and average impact factor while extending their knowledge base and their collaboration network regardless of the result of the competition. Receiving the funds increases the probability of co-authoring with co-applicants but has no additional impact on the individual productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-97
Number of pages14
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

JEL classifications

  • o30 - "Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights: General"


  • Competitive grants
  • Learning
  • Public funding evaluation
  • Scientific collaboration
  • Scientific productivity
  • Knowledge based systems
  • Collaboration network
  • Individual productivity
  • Knowledge base
  • Public funding
  • Research grants
  • Productivity

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