School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

The anatomy of scientific research

Supervisor: Dr Athen Ma

Research group(s): Cognitive Science, Networks

This project aim to develop a novel complexity science approach to better understand pattern of collaborations. Traditionally, academic impact is often illustrated by IP generation and bibliometric measures, while economic and societal impacts are extremely diverse and difficult to quantify. In particular, research is largely not carried out in isolation but through collaborative activities, and therefore, impact should also be understood in a collective and community sense. Collaboration culture and practice found in research communities are highly dynamic as they self organise to adapt to the different levels of research policy, available funding schemes and disciplinary practice. If one can consider a positive impact as better opportunities for knowledge transfer or closer collaborations, both within a community or across different ones, the key challenge is how do we measure it? An example of this kind of impact is the creation of social capital, in the form of structural holes and network closure, through the addition of new collaborations and removal of expired ones; resulting in different forms of evolving local network structures when expressing these collaborations as an innovation ecosystem. This leads to questions such as ’How is social capital developed within an ecosystem?’; ’How are they distributed across an ecosystem?’; ’What are their characteristics and impacts on knowledge propagation?’.