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Strategic Research Connections: Implementing Funding Policy in a Dynamic Network

Farmer, Michael C. (2004) Strategic Research Connections: Implementing Funding Policy in a Dynamic Network. [Industry Studies Working Paper:2004-18]



Since the early phone book experiments that produced the term "six degrees of separation," renewed interest in network theory ranges from sociology and organizational management to economic development and new economic geography. More formal ‘small world’ studies today underline the importance for an agent to navigate a network efficiently to accomplish, say, a successful job search. Fieldwork has produced a wealth of network data and data collection protocols that grow in sophistication continuously. Lagging behind are proactive analytic tools that use this data to locate strategic connections among network agents to leverage better outcomes, such as applied research output. This work employs a network map of collaborations among venture capitalists in Silicon Valley to locate unexploited strategic connections. From the literature, we test several rules suggested as to how network connections might evolve, simple rules in the style of cellular automata and compare connection choice strategies from the static structure alone. One strategy may be especially attractive. A "smart small world" policy robustly achieves two ends: it improves overall output and flattens the informal hierarchy of the network to improve connectivity and increase competition. Since the smart small world strategy does not require any form of dynamic optimization or programming, but relies on the field data directly, it is more accessible to policy-makers and other social sciences. We test the rule on a research network we are still creating for an emerging technology in the pulp and paper industry. The very first initial connection located a divide between European and North American researchers that participating scholars readily recognize as a concern, providing a face validity test of the program.

Industry Studies Series #:2004-18
Item Type:Industry Studies Working Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords:industry studies, industry studies working paper, industry studies association, industry studies research
ID Code:54
Deposited By:Mr Robin Peterson
Deposited On:18 Feb 2010 13:52
Last Modified:07 Jun 2010 10:44

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