The Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FP) are the European Union’s funding programmes for research in Europe. The study analyses the features of external experts involved in evaluating the research proposals in FP6 (years 2003–2006) in the area of Life Sciences.
Subjects and methods
Experts were analysed with respect to nationality, gender, organisational affiliation and rotation. The correlations between the number of experts by nationality and scientific research indicators were also explored.
Experts from 70 countries participated, with 70% coming from 10 countries. The gender composition was relatively stable, with approximately 30% of female experts. The majority of experts came from higher education establishments (51%) and 12% from industry. About 40% of experts participated in the evaluation process two or more times. The number of experts by nationality was linearly correlated with gross national income (r = 0.95, p < 0.0001), population (r = 0.91, p < 0.0001), and number of research publications in health sciences (r = 0.93, p < 0.0001). However, using multiple linear regression analysis, only gross national income had partial regression coefficients significantly different from zero (p = 0.017). The observed value of experts for Italy (312) and Belgium (155) were higher than predicted by this regression model (231 and 71 respectively).
The expert panels involved were balanced with respect to nationalities, whereas the gender distribution was lower than the target. There was a satisfactory degree of rotation of experts between evaluation rounds. The percentage of experts from industry was lower than expected.