With calls to increase federal funding in the physical sciences, in particular for sustainable energy technology (SET), there is a need to better understand the relationship between funding and innovation. In this dissertation, I examine the relationship between federal funding and research productivity, as revealed through publications and citations, for a sample of academic researchers with SET interests. I consider three policy levers the federal government can use to increase researcher productivity: (1) increase individual funding to increase individual research productivity, (2) increase individual funding in a particular topic area to increase individual research productivity in that area, and (3) increase national-level funding in a topic area to increase researcher participation in that area. I focus on SET and biomedical research as the topic areas of concern and created a sample consisting of academic chemists with a stated interest in SET, with data on their person-level federal grants received, publications, and citations.
I find that doubling of research funding at the individual level is associated with a 16% increase in publications and an 11% increase in highly-cited publications. At mean values for the sample, the publication increase is equivalent to a cost of $180,000 per additional publication with a funding increase, as compared to an average cost per publication of roughly $60,000. Within-topic relationships between funding and productivity are similar, with a doubling of funding in a topic area associated with a 5-25% increase in publications in that topic area, for both SET and biomedicine. Increased funding in one topic area is not negatively correlated with productivity in other topic areas, suggesting that researchers do not readily shift from one topic area to another. Finally, I consider national-level funding for a topic area and its relationship to researcher participation in that topic area. A 25% increase in national-level funding is associated with an 18% participation rate increase for SET and a 7% participation rate increase for biomedical research.
Table of Contents
Literature on Federal Funding and Academic Science
Data Collection and Compilation
The Relationship between Grant Funding and Publications
The Relationship between Grant Funding and Publications, Within and Between Research Topic Areas
The Relationship between National‐Level Funding and Participation Rates for Research Topic Areas