This thesis is a comparative study on university-based participation in the European Research Council (ERC). Through both qualitative and quantitative analysis of a questionnaire distributed to European universities in connection with former literature, this study examines different underlying motives behind participation and how universities evaluate themselves in the application process. The study focuses on participation in the latest framework program period Horizon 2020 (H2020).
This study is based on information from research literature and responses given by European universities, through a specifically conducted questionnaire for this research.
This study finds that university-based participation in the ERC funding schemes comes from the possibility to contribute to frontier/basic research with chances of increasing the reputation of individual researchers and universities. Universities have a lot to gain from this participation and it is universities with high internal motivation who are among the most successful participants. The common determinator between the universities is their ability to utilize support mechanisms, ranging from economic support, teaching/research-related assignments to purposeful strategies towards the European Union (EU). A combination of these is found to affect their participation in its entirety.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and their approaches are similar to other European universities. However, there is always room for improvement. This study recommends that NTNU (and other universities) establishes incentives to improve researchers’ application period and implements collaborative forums for previous and potential ERC candidates to exchange knowledge and experiences.