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Promoting Research Excellence

New Approaches to Funding

image of Promoting Research Excellence

National research systems face an increasingly competitive environment for ideas, talent and funds, and governments have shifted funds from institutional core funding to project funding, often on a competitive basis, or reward success in raising third-party funds in performance-based funding schemes. It is in this context that “research excellence initiatives” (REIs) have emerged. This is an instrument designed to encourage outstanding research by providing large-scale, long-term funding to designated research units. They provide funds for research and research-related measures, such as the improvement or extension of physical infrastructure, the recruitment of outstanding researchers from abroad and researcher training.

This report presents new evidence on how governments steer and fund public research in higher education and public research institutions through REIs. The report can help inform discussions on future government policy directions by providing information on how REIs work and on the functioning and characteristics of institutions that host centres of excellence. The findings show some of the benefits to be gained through REIs and note some pitfalls to be avoided.

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Chapter 7. Japanese experience with centres of excellence

This chapter describes two examples of research excellence initiatives (REIs) in Japan: the Global Centres of Excellence (GCOE) Programme, which aims to strengthen the education and research functions of graduate schools and improve the development of human resources in doctoral programmes, and the World Premier International Research Centres (WPI) Initiative, which aims to create world-class research centres, with a superior research environment and extremely high research standards, by supporting systemic reform at universities. It presents the background and historical development of the two programmes, describes the programmes and ends with a general overview.

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