Does massive funding support of researchers work?: Evaluating the impact of the South African research chair funding initiative
In this study we evaluate whether a substantial increase in public funding to researchers is associated with a material difference in their productivity. We compare performance measures of researchers who were granted substantial funding against researchers with similar scholarly standing who did not receive such funding. We find that substantial funding is associated with raised researcher performance – though the increase is moderate, is strongly conditional on the quality of the researcher who receives the funding, and is greater in some disciplines than others. Moreover the cost per additional unit of output is such as to raise questions about the usefulness of the funding model. The implication is that public research funding will be more effective in raising research output where selectivity of recipients of funding is strongly conditional on the established track record of researchers.