Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Most scientists prefer small and mid-sized research grants

Scientists’ own perspectives on research funding are often missing. To address this, we surveyed Danish scientists about their ideal research grant. In contrast to a trend towards larger grants, most surveyed scientists prefer small or mid-sized grants to pursue their ideas and advance their scientific careers.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Respondents distributed according to the size of their ideal next grant (N = 451).
Fig. 2: Respondents distributed according to their assessment of the minimum duration of the project necessary to realize the project goals (N = 455).


  1. Van Noorden, R. & Brumfiel, G. Nature 464, 474–475 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Nicholson, J. M. & Ioannidis, J. P. A. Nature 492, 34–36 (2012).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Wang, J., Veugelers, R. & Stephan, P. Res. Policy 46, 1416–1436 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bornmann, L., Leydesdorff, L. & Van den Besselaar, P. J. Informetrics 4, 211–220 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Fortin, J. M. & Currie, D. J. PLoS One 8, e65263 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Bloch, C. & Sørensen, M. P. Sci. Public Policy 42, 30–43 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bloch, C., Schneider, J. W. & Sinkjær, T. PLoS One 11, e0147726 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Wu, L., Wang, D. & Evans, J. A. Nature 566, 378–382 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Lee, Y. N., Walsh, J. P. & Wang, J. Res. Policy 44, 684–697 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Wang, J., Lee, Y. N. & Walsh, J. P. Res. Policy 47, 1070–1083 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. NIH Data Book. NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). (NIH, 2018).

  12. Wohlert, J. et al. The Ideal Research Grant. The Think Tank DEA, the Independent Research Fund Denmark, and The Young Academy (The Think Tank DEA, 2018).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Henrik Dimke.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dimke, H., Norn, M.T., Christiansen, P.M. et al. Most scientists prefer small and mid-sized research grants. Nat Hum Behav 3, 765–767 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing