The ERC game: grant assignment mechanism and choice to apply
Topic: Proposal Development
We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of grant assignment mechanisms, in particular the ERC bottom-up approach. The bottom-up assignment mechanism avoids arbitrary prioritization across fields and domains. However, it ends up penalizing fields with smaller uncertainty about applicants ranking. In such fields, applicants below the winning threshold are less likely to apply, reducing the number of applications and—by the bottom-up approach—also reducing the number of awardees in the field. In contrast, the top-down approach avoids that researchers’ “choice to apply” affects the distribution of grants across fields. However, this requires a decision about how to assign grants across fields.
This discussion table aims at: explaining the "ERC game"; discussing the implications and design of grant assignment mechanisms; and highlighting strategies to induce researchers to apply.