Category Archives: ST&I policy

Neglected tropical diseases in Brazil: lack of correlation between disease burden, research funding and output

Objectives
To assess the correlation between the burden of seven priority neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) included in the Brazilian National Agenda of Priorities in Health Research – tuberculosis, Chagas disease, leprosy, malaria, leishmaniasis, dengue and schistosomiasis – and their respective research funding and output.

Methods
This retrospective review obtained data on disease burden from the Global Burden of Disease Study and funding data from open access sources. Publications were retrieved from Scopus and SciELO, and characterised according to the type of research conducted. Correlation between funding, research output and burden was assessed by comparing the ‘expected’ and ‘observed’ values for funding and publications relative to the proportional burden for each disease.

Results
There was an emphasis in basic biomedical research (average 30% of publications) and a shortage of health policy and systems (average 7%) and social sciences research (average 3%). Research output and funding were poorly correlated with disease burden. Tuberculosis, Chagas disease and schistosomiasis accounted for more than 75% of total NTD‐related DALYs, but accounted for only 34% of publications. Leprosy, leishmaniasis and malaria, together, received 49% of NTD‐related funding despite being responsible for only 9% of DALYs.

Conclusions
The analysis evidenced a lack of correlation between disease burden, research output and government funding for priority NTDs in Brazil. Our findings highlight the importance of monitoring health needs, research investments and outputs to inform policy and optimise the uptake of evidence for action, particularly in developing countries, where resources are scarce and the research capacity is limited. The results contribute to health policy by highlighting the need for improving coordination of scientific activities and public health needs for effective impact.

https://doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13478

Author(s): Bruna de Paula Fonseca, Priscila Costa Albuquerque, Fabio Zicker
Organization(s): Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)
Source: Tropical Medicine & International Health
Year: 2020

Parallel or Intersecting Lines? Intelligent Bibliometrics for Investigating the Involvement of Data Science in Policy Analysis

Efforts to involve data science in policy analysis can be traced back decades but transforming analytic findings into decisions is still far from straightforward task. Data-driven decision-making requires understanding approaches, practices, and research results from many disciplines, which makes it interesting to investigate whether data science and policy analysis are moving in parallel or whether their pathways have intersected. Our investigation, from a bibliometric perspective, is driven by a comprehensive set of research questions, and we have designed an intelligent bibliometric framework that includes a series of traditional bibliometric approaches and a novel method of charting the evolutionary pathways of scientific innovation, which is used to identify predecessor–descendant relationships in technological topics. Our investigation reveals that data science and policy analysis have intersecting lines, and it can foresee that a cross-disciplinary direction in which policy analysis interacting with data science has become an emergent area in both communities. However, equipped with advanced data analytic techniques, data scientists are moving faster and further than policy analysts. The empirical insights derived from our research should be beneficial to academic researchers and journal editors in related research communities, as well as policy-makers in research institutions and funding agencies.

10.1109/TEM.2020.2974761

Author(s): Yi Zhang, Alan L. Porter, Scott Cunningham, Denise Chiavetta, Nils Newman
Organization(s): University of Technology Sydney, Search Technology Inc., University of Strathclyde
Source: IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Year: 2020

Do national funding organizations properly address the diseases with the highest burden? – Observations from China and the UK (Full-Text)

Recent years have witnessed an incipient shift in science policy from a focus mainly on academic excellence to a focus that also takes into account “societal impact”. This shift raises the question as to whether medical research has given proper attention to the diseases imposing the greatest burden on society. Therefore, with the aim of identifying correlations between research funding priorities and public demand in health, we examine grants issued by the major medical research funding bodies of China and the UK during the decade 2006-2017 and compare the focus of their funded projects with the diseases that carry the highest burden of death, risk, or loss of health. The results indicate that the funding decisions of both nations do correspond to the illnesses with the highest health impact on their citizens. For both regions, the greatest health concerns surround non-communicable diseases, and neoplasms and cardiovascular disease in particular. In China, national health priorities have remained focused on these illnesses for the benefit of its own population, whereas the UK has funded a wider variety of research, extending to projects with impacts outside its borders to some developing countries. Additionally, despite an increased incidence of mental illness and HIV/AIDs in China, there is evidence that less priority has been given to these conditions. Both of these health areas seem to require more attention from China’s national funding agencies and the society in general. Methodologically, this study can serve as an example of how to conduct analyses related to public health issues by combining informetric methods and data with data and tools from other fields, thereby inspiring other scientometrics studies.

For FULL-TEXT download at DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/ckpf8

Author(s): Lin Zhang, Wenjing ZHAO, Jianhua Liu, Gunnar Sivertsen, Ying HUANG
Organization(s): Wuhan University, KU Leuven, Beijing Wanfang Data Ltd., Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation Research and Education (NIFU)
Source: SocArXiv
Year: 2020

The relation between research priorities and societal demands: The case of rice (FULL-TEXT)

To what extent is scientific research related to societal needs? To answer this crucial question systematically we need to contrast indicators of research priorities with indicators of societal needs. We focus on rice research and technology between 1983 and 2012. We combine quantitative methods that allow investigation of the relation between ‘revealed’ research priorities and ‘revealed’ societal demands, measured respectively by research output (publications) and national accounts of rice use and farmers’ and consumers’ rice-related needs. We employ new bibliometric data, methods and indicators to identify countries’ main rice research topics (priorities) from publications. For a panel of countries, we estimate the relation between revealed research priorities and revealed demands. We find that, across countries and time, societal demands explain a country’s research trajectory to a limited extent. Some research priorities are nicely aligned to societal demands, confirming that science is partly related to societal needs. However, we find a relevant number of misalignments between the focus of rice research and revealed demands, crucially related to human consumption and nutrition. We discuss some implications for research policy.

As winner of the October 2019 Elsevier Atlas Award, FULL-TEXT is available at  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2018.10.027

Author(s): Tommaso Ciarli, Ismael Ràfols
Organization(s): SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit), University of Sussex; Universitat Politècnica València
Source: Research Policy
Year: 2019

Who studies where? Boosting tropical conservation research where it is most needed (FULL-TEXT)

Despite the mounting threats that tropical ecosystems face, conservation in the tropics remains severely under‐researched relative to temperate systems. Efforts to address this knowledge gap have so far largely failed to analyze the relationship between an author’s choice of study site and that author’s country of origin. We examined factors that motivate both foreign and domestic scientists to conduct research in tropical countries, based on a sample of nearly 3000 tropical conservation research articles. Many barriers that have historically deterred foreign research effort appear to have been overcome, although US scientists still respond negatively to safety concerns and distance. The productivity of local scientists is affected by corruption and lack of institutional support. Both foreign and in‐country scientists are increasingly working in places with more listed threatened species, but many regions still lack adequate conservation research. Although foreign scientists could be attracted to less‐studied areas through targeted grants, the long‐term solution must be to train and employ more local scientists.

https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2146 for FULL-TEXT https://flore.unifi.it/retrieve/handle/2158/1185963/461923/Segovia_et_al-2020-Frontiers_in_Ecology_and_the_Environment.pdf

Author(s): Ana L. Reboredo Segovia, Donato Romano, Paul R. Armsworth
Organization(s): Boston University, University of Florence, University of Tennessee
Source: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Year: 2020

An overview of intellectual property within agricultural biotechnology in Brazil (Full-Text)

Brazilian agricultural biotechnology has seen great advances in recent decades, especially in the development of GM crops, including soybean, cotton, and maize, which has placed Brazil in second place since 2013 in the ranking of countries with the greatest GM-cultivated area. However, patenting these technologies is somewhat more restrictive in Brazil than in other countries, such as the USA and Japan, especially concerning isolated biological material from nature. Hence, the intellectual protection of crops in Brazil is encompassed by sui generis rights and/or the patenting of only the development process. Given the current scenario and the importance of biotechnology for the Brazilian agriculture sector, it is necessary to deeply study the patent system for recently developed technologies to identify opportunities for enterprises and national institutes to act in this area. The application of novel biotechnological strategies to agriculture will contribute to the expanding agriculture sector and become part of the solution to global challenges. Through this study, we can identify the major companies developing and protecting their agrobiotechnologies. Additionally, a more detailed analysis verifies that although there are some restrictions in Brazilian laws, GM patent applicants find ways to obtain intellectual protection for the tools they use in the development of GM crops, which include regulatory sequences, gene constructs and production methodologies. Mechanisms to stimulate investment in Brazilian research companies and public policies must be consolidated, allowing investment and public–private partnerships in this sector, with the aim of applying biotechnological knowledge and turn it into products demanded by society.

For Full-Text https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biori.2019.04.003

Author(s): L.H.M. Figueiredo, A.G. Vasconcellos, G.S. Prado, M.F. Grossi-de-Sa
Organization(s): EMBRAPA Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, National Institute of Industrial Property/INPI
Source: Biotechnology Research and Innovation
Year: 2019

Mapping the Brazilian microscopy landscape: A bibliometric and network analysis

Understanding how a technology is introduced and shared in a society has a strategic value for the planning of technological development and assessing new market opportunities. Among other technologies, microscopy has had a significant role in advancing different fields of science. In Brazil, its use spans from biomedical to engineering areas. Here, we used social network analysis (SNA) to map and quantify the flow of interaction between Brazilian researchers involved in microscopy techniques. The analysis examines co-occurrence of thematic networks and scientific co-authorship in articles published in a ten years window, as retrieved from Scopus database. The results showed an increasing volume of publications using microscopy in Brazil. The two major areas of interest are material and life sciences, which present significant intra-regional interaction. USA, Spain, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom are the main partner countries for international scientific collaborations. The share of Brazilian publications applying microscopy follows the global trends, with a slight predominance in health and life sciences. Our results provide a context of the strengths and gaps of the field in Brazil and may help to inform researchers and policy makers for further advancing the field.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micron.2018.10.005

Author(s): Priscila C. Albuquerque, Brunade Paula Fonseca e Fonseca, Wendell Girard-Dias, Fabio Zicker, Wanderley de Souza, Kildare Miranda
Organization(s): Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Source: Micron
Year: 2018

Collaboration Towards a More Inclusive Society: The Case of South African ICT4D Researchers

In this study, research collaboration in the context of South African Information and Communication for Development (ICT4D) researchers was investigated using a mixed methods approach. South Africa, a country with stark development challenges and on the other hand a well-established ICT infrastructure, provides an appropriate context for ICT4D research. Firstly, a quantitative analysis of South African research collaboration between 2003 and 2016 was conducted to determine the existing research collaboration patterns of South African ICT4D researchers. This is based on the publications in three top ICT4D journals namely the Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), Information Technologies & International Development (ITID), and Information Technology for Development (ITD). The results show that most co-authored papers were intra-institutional collaborations, with limited inter-institutional collaboration between South African authors or between South African and other African authors. Secondly, interviews were conducted with South African researchers who emerged as inter- and intra-institutional collaborators to gain insight into the technology, drivers and barriers affecting South African research collaboration. We report our findings and discuss the implications for employing research collaboration as a mechanism for addressing inequality and supporting inclusion.

DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-99605-9_6

Author(s): Judy van Biljon, Filistea Naude
Organization(s): University of South Africa
Source: This Changes Everything – ICT and Climate Change: What Can We Do? (IFIP International Conference on Human Choice and Computers 2018)
Year: 2018

Institutional shaping of research priorities: A case study on avian influenza

Since outbreaks in 2003, avian influenza has received a considerable amount of funding and become a controversial science policy issue in various respects. Like in many other global and multidisciplinary societal problems fraught with high levels of uncertainty, a variety of perspectives have emerged over how to “tackle” avian influenza and public voices have expressed concern over how research funds are being allocated. In this article, we document if and how research agendas are being informed by public policy debates. We use qualitative and quantitative approaches to examine the relations between expectations of outcomes of public science and the existing research landscape. Interviews with a cross-section of stakeholders reveal a wide range of perspectives and values associated with the nature and objectives of existing research avenues. We find that the landscape of public avian influenza research is not directly driven by expectations of societal outcomes. Instead, it is shaped by three institutional drivers: pharmaceutical industry priorities, publishing and public research funding pressures, and the mandates of science-based policy or public health organizations. These insights suggest that, in research prioritization, funding agencies should embrace a broad perspective of research governance that explicitly considers underlying institutional drivers. Deliberative approaches in public priority setting might help to make agendas more plural and diverse and thus more responsive to the contested and uncertain nature of avian influenza research.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2018.07.005

Author(s): Matthew L.Wallace, Ismael Ràfols
Organization(s): Universitat Politècnica de València
Source: Research Policy
Year: 2018

Analysis of an investment by a seed capital fund using a patento-scientometric approach: the case of probiotics technology for veterinary use

This article examines the potential use of scientometric and patentometric indicators as a way to instrumentalise the process of selecting projects by seed capital funds. Academic interest in high-tech companies is growing due to their ability to contribute to economic and social development. Nevertheless, the literature and documented practice reveal a certain difficulty to evaluate non-financial criteria associated with technologies by venture capital funds. We selected the case of a company that received an investment from Brazil’s largest seed capital fund to analyse the contribution of these indicators to understand the potential of the firm’s technology. We conclude that use of scientometric and patentometric can improve the process of evaluation of the following criteria: technology; market; divestment; and team.

https://doi.org/10.1504/IJBBM.2018.092749

Author(s): Gustavo Da Silva Motta, Maxwel De Azevedo-Ferreira, Rogério Hermida Quintella
Organization(s): Universidade Federal Fluminense, Universidade Federal da Bahia
Source: International Journal of Bibliometrics in Business and Management
Year: 2018