Some money more prestigious than other money
Peter Edlund has compared the status of grants from the European Research Council (ERC) with grants from the Swedish Research Council reserve-list support. European Research Council evaluations, which are exact, exclusive and expert-driven, have become internationally accepted. To receive ERC funding is thus very prestigious and high-status.
“I have compared evaluations in which the amount of money granted is the same, but the evaluations differ in their organisational construction, and this fact has huge consequences for their different status. Having received funding based on certain evaluations becomes very important, as some evaluations are considered more prestigious than others. As a result, such grants are then more prestigious.
The European Research Council opens all doors
ERC-funded researchers are immediately offered positions at Swedish universities and they gain extra funding when they place their grants there. Moreover, they gain great visibility which facilitates the process of establishing collaboration with other researchers.
However, individual researchers receiving the same monetary amounts from the Swedish Research Council reserve-list support miss out on all these status boosts.
“It might seem strange that money is differentiated in this manner in the research community, since there is nowadays a great lack of funding,” Peter Edlund points out.
An elite within the elite
Peter has the impression that many researchers are unfamiliar with how the ERC works and of the consequences of receiving ERC grants.
“Certain circles within the Swedish research community compete to receive these grants and even smaller circles really succeed. It is a small world, almost like an elite within the elite.
“Career-wise, it is enormously important to be the recipient of certain grants rather than others.”
He would now like to explore this phenomenon from a broader perspective, as similar reserve fund grants exist in several national research councils.
“Today, we find national reserve fund grants in large parts of Europe, which creates good opportunities for making comparisons between different countries.”
The Wallander scholarship
The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius foundation in association with the Tore Browaldh foundation award the Wallander scholarship to young excellent researchers with a PhD. The idea is to give the recipient the opportunity to become a reader, as it provides full-time research during three years.
“The Wallander scholarship is very encouraging and means that I now have an amazing opportunity. It provides security and freedom during three years. Moreover, the scholarship is most certainly an asset for the future.”