REIs long-run effects on national research systems
REIs are perceived to have achieved a number of their objectives. They have been able, in most cases, to reshape national research systems by providing the incentives and tools to enhance co-operation and interdisciplinary research and to create the conditions for attracting and developing highly qualified researchers.
REIs can lead to broad changes in the structure of the research system. Some changes can even positively affect institutions that were not selected for funding because they can trigger intensified co-operation between departments and interdisciplinary research and help raise the visibility and international reputation of the host institution.
Training an increasingly skilled workforce is fundamentally important for economic growth and it is likely to have lasting effects on society. REIs provide targeted funding to CoEs in order to enhance doctoral programmes and post-doctoral, thereby attracting and training future generations of scientists that will form the human capital needed to pursue scientific discoveries.
Knowledge and intangible assets can spill over and create positive externalities that last in the long run. The activities of CoEs positively affect those of other departments in the host institution both directly, through the establishment of new networks and cooperative ties, and indirectly, through the overall reputational gains of the host institution.
Impact assessments of large, wide-ranging science and technology funding programmes is of crucial importance for policy makers. Yet comprehensive long-term evaluations of the outputs of REIs (and of how they affect society and welfare) are lacking. The general perception of REIs, as described in the OECD/RIHR surveys, is nonetheless very positive.