<  Back to the Polytechnique Montréal portal

Concentration of research funding leads to decreasing marginal returns

Philippe Mongeon, Christine Brodeur, Catherine Beaudry and Vincent Larivière

Article (2016)

Accepted Version
Terms of Use: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives .
Download (593kB)
Cite this document: Mongeon, P., Brodeur, C., Beaudry, C. & Larivière, V. (2016). Concentration of research funding leads to decreasing marginal returns. Research Evaluation, 25(4), p. 396-404. doi:10.1093/reseval/rvw007
Show abstract Hide abstract


In most countries, basic research is supported by research councils that select, after peer review, the individuals or teams that are to receive funding. Unfortunately, the number of grants these research councils can allocate is not infinite and, in most cases, a minority of the researchers receive the majority of the funds. However, evidence as to whether this is an optimal way of distributing available funds is mixed. The purpose of this study is to measure the relation between the amount of funding provided to 12,720 researchers in Québec over a 15-year period (1998–2012) and their scientific output and impact from 2000 to 2013. Our results show that in terms of both the quantity of papers produced and their scientific impact, the concentration of research funding in the hands of the so-called ‘elite’ of researchers generally produces diminishing marginal returns. Also, we find that the most funded researchers do not stand out in terms of output and scientific impact.

Uncontrolled Keywords

research funding, scientific impact, scientific output, science policy

Open Access document in PolyPublie
Subjects: 1600 Génie industriel > 1600 Génie industriel
Department: Département de mathématiques et de génie industriel
Research Center: CIRST - Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 12:32
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2021 10:43
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/2319/
Document issued by the official publisher
Journal Title: Research Evaluation (vol. 25, no. 4)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvw007


Total downloads

Downloads per month in the last year

Origin of downloads


Repository Staff Only