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How Close You Are

An analysis has found that who receives grants from the European Research Council could be influenced by whether applicants have ties to the same institutions as the individuals on the funding panels, Nature News reports.

A pair of researchers from Amsterdam examined whether organizational proximity affected the probability someone would receive a grant. In their preprint posted to ResearchGate, TMC's Charlie Mom and Peter van den Besselaar from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam examined the affiliations of more than 3,200 applicants for the 2014 ERC Starting Grant in comparison with those of the funding panel members and whether their application was successful.

They found that applicants with closer ties to panelists were 50 percent more likely to be successful, and that the effect was more pronounced in the life sciences.

Giovanni Abramo, the technology research director at the National Research Council of Italy, tells Nature News that though other analyses have found similar effects at other funding agencies, he was "surprised that the phenomenon has been recorded at a level as high as the ERC grants."