Category Archives: ST&I policy

Policy interactions with research trajectories: The case of cyber-physical convergence in manufacturing and industrials

From the early 2010s, policymakers and firms in advanced industrial economies began introducing approaches to systemically exploit manufacturing and industrial data using the notion of cyber-physical convergence. Three innovation concepts have been especially highlighted: Smart Manufacturing, the Industrial Internet and Industrie 4.0. In parallel, academics have employed these concepts in numerous ways to advance their work. Despite this broad interest, precise definition and delineation of the cyber-physical convergence research domain have received little attention. Also missing is systematic knowledge on the interactions of these concepts with research trajectories. This paper fills these gaps by operationalising a newly constructed definition of convergence, and delineating the associated research domain into five data-centric capabilities: Monitoring, Analytics, Modelling and Simulation, Transmission and Security. A bibliometric analysis of the domain is then performed for 2010–2019. There are three findings. First, Analytics and Security have assumed strategic positions within the domain, coinciding with a “strategic turn” in policy. Second, backed by concerted policy and funding efforts, growth in Chinese scientific output has outpaced key competitors, including the U.S. and Germany. Finally, the patterns of promoting their works in terms of the three concepts differ significantly amongst U.S.-, Germany- and China-based authors, which mirrors the different policy discourses prevalent in those countries.

Author(s): Tausif Bordoloi, Philip Shapira, Paul Mativeng
Organization(s): The University of Manchester, University of Johannesburg
Source: Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Year: 2022

A methodology for identifying breakthrough topics using structural entropy

This research uses link prediction and structural-entropy methods to predict scientific breakthrough topics. Temporal changes in the structural entropy of a knowledge network can be used to identify potential breakthrough topics. This has been done by tracking and monitoring a network’s critical transition points, also known as tipping points. The moment at which a significant change in the structural entropy of a knowledge network occurs may denote the points in time when breakthrough topics emerge. The method was validated by domain experts and was demonstrated to be a feasible tool for identifying scientific breakthroughs early. This method can play a role in identifying scientific breakthroughs and could aid in realizing forward-looking predictions to provide support for policy formulation and direct scientific research. Notes on methodology: First, text data were imported into Clarivate’s Derwent Data Analyzer, and the multi-word list in the field of “combined keywords + phrase” was selected as the field-of-topic term. The list in the “combined keywords + phrase” field was extracted from titles…


Identifying a scientific breakthrough early and helping to establish forward-looking predictions.

Depicting the non-linear characteristics of complex knowledge networks through structural changes.

Regarding the knowledge network as a complex system from a holistic perspective.

Observing the incubation mechanism of emergent scientific breakthroughs from a dynamic evolutionary perspective.

Author(s): Haiyun Xu, Rui Luo, Jos Winnink, Chao Wang, Ehsan Elahi
Organization(s): Shandong University of Technology, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Leiden University
Source: Information Processing & Management
Year: 2021

Public innovation: what it is and how it happens through i-Labs

The complexity involved in the solution for public issues requires innovation. Despite the importance, there is little research to translate theories into practice. The aim of this paper is to investigate innovation for public issues through public innovation laboratories (i-Labs). To achieve this, a systematic literature review from documents published since 2004 up to 2019 in Web of Science® was carried out. Data mining software Vantage Point® and Vosviewer® and qualitative analysis software MAXQDA® were used to study 275 articles. Results show the need to deepen in the construction of the public innovation theory through the development of longitudinal studies. The study also found that it is possible to generate public innovation by the integration of; in the laboratory: co-creation, collaborative innovation, experimentation, public-private partnership and citizen participation.

Author(s): Lizeth Fernanda Serrano-Cárdenas, Yessika Lorena Vásquez González, Flor Nancy Díaz-Piraquive
Organization(s): Universidad del Rosario, Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Fundación Universitaria Internacional de La Rioja UNIR
Source: International Journal of Web Engineering and Technology
Year: 2021

The effect of competitive public funding on scientific output: A comparison between China and the EU

Public funding is believed to play an important role in the development of science and technology. However, whether public funding and, in particular, competitive funding from public agencies actually helps to increase scientific output (i.e. publications) remains a matter of debate. By analysing a dataset of co-publications between China and the EU and a dataset of joint project collaborations in European Framework Programs for Research and Innovation [FP7 and Horizon 2020 (H2020)], we investigate whether different public funding agencies’ competitive assets have different impact on the volume of publication output. Our results support the hypotheses that competitively funded research output varies by funding sources, so that a high level of funding does not necessarily lead to high scientific output. Our results show that FP7/H2020 funded projects do not have a positive contribution to the output of joint publications between China and the EU. Interestingly, cooperation in the form of jointly writing proposals to these EU programmes, especially when they are not granted by the European Commission, can contribute significantly to joint scientific publications in a later stage. This applies in particular to cases where funding from China is involved. Our findings highlight the key role that funding agencies play in influencing research behaviour. Our results indicate that Chinese funding triggers a high number of publications, whereas research funded by the EU does so to a much lower extent, arguably due to the EU’s strong focus on social impact and its funding schemes as tools to promote European integration.

Author(s): Lili Wang, Xianwen Wang, Fredrik Niclas Piro, Niels J Philipsen
Organization(s): Maastricht University, Dalian University of Technology, Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Source: Research Evaluation
Year: 2020

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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/

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

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. for FULL-TEXT

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

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