Incentives in Science

About the Project

Removed from the daily conduct of science policy, this project explores and questions the structures within which science is conducted, while discussing the resulting framework conditions that both make science possible and leave their own defining stamp on it. These structures and conditions include the commonly lamented yet self-inflicted deluge of publications, issues regarding the control of science through agreed objectives, and objections over quality being too often subordinated to quantity, intentions taking precedence over results, and insight being confused with impact.



Behind these and other points of discussion, meanwhile, there stands the perhaps essential question of how to measure science – and the effects this measurement has on science. The basic assumption remains not that one should or could dispose of incentives altogether, but that we should consider which incentives have practically become the scientific system’s default settings, what consequences this has and, of course, whether other and better incentives might be viable.


2020: Statement „Anreiz-Problematiken in der Wissenschaft“

A large number of performance indicators are used for the distribution of limited research funds, the evaluation of research results or the classification of personal career paths of researchers. While these create strong incentives for competition, they do not necessarily lead to better research and teaching. In their statement, the members of the project group "Anreize im Wissenschhaftssystem" of Die Junge Akademie advocate for more qualitative and differentiated indicators.

2019: Symposium participation

On 12-13 December 2019, Christoph Lundgreen took part in the symposium "'Pacts, nothing but pacts... - What does the German science system need in the 2020s" of the Volkswagen Foundation on the occasion of the farewell of its Secretary General Wilhelm Krull in Hannover. At the symposium, high-ranking representatives of the science system discussed how Germany can remain internationally competitive as a location for science in the future.

A volume on the conference was published in the series "Forschung. Policy, Strategy, Management" (UniversitätsVerlagWebler, 12th volume, 3+4/2019). The commentary by Christoph Lundgreen "Path dependencies, job structure and the courage to take risks for sustainable universities" (p. 101f.) can be found here.

2019: Workshop "Control Mechanisms"

As part of the project "Incentives in Science", a workshop with members of Die Junge Akademie took place in Gotha, 24-25 October 2019. While the first workshop dealt with existing structures of the incentive system in the local scientific community and the identification of resulting problems, the focus of the second workshop was on ideas for solutions to science policy problems. What financial and, above all, non-financial control mechanisms are there that could be used to make the scientific incentive system more effective and fair, in order to avoid undesirable side effects?

The workshop was organised by Christoph Lundgreen (initiator of the project "Incentives in Science").

2019: Workshop "Incentives in Science"

As part of the project, an internal workshop was held on January 17, 2019 with Martina Franzen (Research Fellow of the Research Group Science Policy Studies at the Berlin Social Science Center) and the sociologist Richard Münch. The workshop was organised by Christoph Lundgreen (Speaker of Die Junge Akademie and the project "Incentives in Science").