Research funding tools in action

An important way that research funders influence how science is done is through the criteria included in their funding offers. Research funders can make it necessary that applicants to their funding calls address aspects of the science process that the funder would like to promote. The criteria funders include in their funding instruments likely reflect their policies regarding open and responsible research.

Research funders policies to support open and responsible research

For example, many funders have policies supporting open science. Their funding instruments often ask applicants to publish outputs from the research they support as open access. To be eligible to receive a grant applicants must describe their plans, and budget appropriately, for open access publication. Funders can make such criteria mandatory or desirable, depending on how important a particular aspect of open and responsible research is in their policy or strategic approach.

The number of different dimensions of openness and responsibility funders include in the funding offers, and whether they require or prefer these dimensions be addressed or included in applicants’ proposals, highlight how active funders are in their efforts to shape the way the research they fund is conducted. An overall assessment of funding instruments considers how many open and responsible elements are part of a research funders’ approach to assessment.

Inclusion of open and responsible research in funding instruments

How the overall assessment works

Analyses of policy documents, main research programme call documents, and expert interviews conducted with research funders, are the basis for an overall qualitative assessment of the openness and responsibility of research funders’ funding instruments.

Description of assessment categories:


Descriptor 1

Descriptor 2


A broad set of open and responsible research elements included in call

Mainly required approaches or actions


A broad set of open and responsible research elements included in call

Mainly preferred approaches or actions


A typical set of open and responsible research elements (3-4 elements)

Mix of preferred and required approaches or actions


Basic set of open and responsible research elements (1-2 elements)

Mainly required approaches or actions


A range of open resources are available are available for those who are interested in open and responsible research funding.

Detailed descriptions of the collection of the data and information about open and responsible research funding shown at can be found here.

Open data on national research funding can be found at COKI

A range of position papers and other resources about trends in research funding from the perspective of public research funding organisations can be found at Science Europe.

Private research foundations’ activities and discussions about funding can be found the European Foundation Centre.