Scientists Engaged in Emerging Technology Research: The Nature of Scientific Networks and Collaborative Groups

No Thumbnail Available
Melkers, Julia
Xiao, Fang
Associated Organization(s)
Organizational Unit
Supplementary to
Emerging technologies are generally seen as those latest scientific innovations which "embody the latest in efficiency and productivity design that have most recently been commercialized" (Lung, Masanet et al. 2006), have a potential impact on industry structure (Day and Schoemaker 2000) and a significant influence on economy (Porter, Roessner et al. 2002). A key characteristic of emerging technologies is that they are new - therefore the notion of "emerging" is a time limited status that reflects the development and adjustment affiliated with the creation of something novel. Generally speaking, technologies are no longer considered to be emerging once they have been successfully commercialized for ten years (Lung, Masanet et al. 2006). In recent years, an increasing number of scientists are conducting research in areas of emerging technology, and becoming active in commercializing their scientific discoveries (Kleinman 1998; Stuart and Ding 2006). Meanwhile, research funding opportunities in areas of emerging technology have increased; for example, NSF funding on Nano has grown from $150 million in 2001 to $389 million in 2007 (NNI 2008). In this, the competitiveness of the grant environment has also increased. In many of these new technology areas, there is an increasing expectation for interdisciplinary collaboration (Oliver 2004; Heinze and Bauer 2007). This paper addresses the nature of scientists that have been successful in this competitive process in the area of emerging technologies and the collaborative network factors that predict their success. Data are drawn from a recent national survey of science and engineering faculty in 150 Research 1 universities in the United States in (n=1,764). First, we provide detailed descriptive statistics on characteristics of scientists engaged in funded emerging technology research. In particular, we address their interdisciplinary collaboration interactions and networks, as well as their interaction with industry. To address the factors that explain successful funding in the emerging technologies area, we develop and test an endogenous dependent variable model which estimates the determinants of scientists' success in obtaining funding to conduct emerging technology research. We expect that individuals who are more active to engage in boundary-spanning activities, who have more interdisciplinary collaborators, who have more industrial linkages are more successfully funded to conduct emerging technology research. Day, G. S. and P. J. H. Schoemaker (2000). A Different Game. Wharton on Managing Emerging Technologies. G. S. Day, P. J. H. Schoemaker and R. E. Gunther. New York, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Heinze, T. and G. Bauer (2007). "Characterizing creative scientists in nano-S&T: Productivity, multidisciplinarity, and network brokerage in a longitudinal perspective." Scientometrics 70(3): 811-830. Kleinman, D. L. (1998). "Untangling Context: Understanding a University Laboratory in the Commercial World." Science, Technology, & Human Values 23(3): 285-314. NNI. (2008). "Funding." from http://www.nano.gov/html/about/funding.html. Oliver, A. L. (2004). "Biotechnology entrepreneurial scientists and their collaborations." Research Policy 33: 583-597. Porter, A. L., J. D. Roessner, et al. (2002). "Measuring national 'emerging technology' capabilities." Science and Public Policy 29(3). Stuart, T. and W. Ding (2006). "When Do Scientists Become Entrepreneurs? The Social Structural Antecedents of Commercial Activity in the Academic Life Sciences." American Journal of Sociology 112(1): 97-144.
Date Issued
Resource Type
Resource Subtype
Rights Statement
Rights URI