Funding: Keep arm’s length – and hold high standards

  After decades with growth in the allocation of public funds for research and higher education – supported across a broad political spectrum - the political winds have shifted direction. Cuts are underway. In order to prevent a decline in research activity, new funding must primarily come from private sponsors. Private funding of research already has a long tradition in Denmark, mainly through private foundations. Now time is ripe to find new sources of private funding. However, this raises a number of challenges. In particular, while sponsors should have a say in the choice of research themes, it is critical to keep the choice of methodology and publication outlet in the hands of the individual researcher. Here, no compromises should be made. Otherwise, the research is no longer independent, and a high quality of research output cannot be guaranteed. This would undermine the standing of universities. Against this background, and together with Torben Möger Pedersen and Jesper Rangvid, I wrote an article about how to strike a balance between attracting private funding for research and maintaining independence and high quality of research.  We use PeRCent as a case to illustrate the dilemmas involved and to show how a model of public-private partnership (PPP) can be designed. Clearly, we hope others could take inspiration from our PPP model. The article has been published as a so-called "Analyse" by the daily newspaper Politiken. You can read the published version here, and a previous version of the article can be found here.        My other recent op-eds can be found here.

Last updated by: Svend Erik Hougaard Jensen 01/11/2016