Funding in CoEs

The availability of research funds is a crucial aspect of the functioning of research centres. The CoEs considered in this study are, by definition, generously funded (Table 3.2). This is due to the fact, as mentioned in Chapter 2, that the research they carry out has ambitious goals (e.g. promoting scientific breakthroughs, fostering novel scientific approaches, as well as building solid research networks) which require more funding than many other research initiatives. The average annual funding of the CoEs examined in this study (for which self-reported information was around USD 2.6 million in PPP (with a minimum of around USD 81 000 and a maximum of around USD 26 million) while the median funding per year is around USD 1.8 million. The CoEs are very different with respect to the size of their research budget, which strengthens the case for disaggregation in order to capture possible differences across CoEs. The average annual funding of the 185 CoEsLB is by definition larger, around USD 3.2 million, while the 49 CoEsSB have funding, on average, of USD 470 000.

Table 3.2. CoEs’ funding per year (2011 or nearest available year)

Average USD (PPP)

Minimum USD (PPP)

Maximum USD (PPP)

Median USD (PPP)

All CoEs

2 636 691

81 139

26 000 000

1 840 463


3210 744

1 021 943

26 000 000



469 348

81 139

957 260

398 483

Source: OECD/RIHR Survey to Centres of Excellence, 2012.

Researchers: Average size of teams

In addition to significant funding, CoEs also need an adequate number of researchers to create the critical mass necessary to achieve important scientific breakthroughs. The funding provided by REIs usually includes resources not only to attract and hire highly qualified researchers on both the national and international job markets but also to create large research groups to work on human-resource-intensive and innovative projects. The available data indicate that the average research team at CoEs has around 84 researchers (87 on average for CoEsLB) while the research teams at CoEsSB are on average smaller and have around 61 scientists (headcount) (Figure 3.2).7

Figure 3.2. Average size of research teams


Source: OECD/RIHR Survey to Centres of Excellence, 2012.

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