Centrality of government and universities to innovation in the United States: A social-networking analysis

Author name: 
Bakhtiari, S

This study explores research collaborations in the United States and the position government and universities occupy in that space through the lens of social networks. Joint organizational patents establish the network. Over time, a dense core of interconnected collaborators forms at the network’s heart, surrounded by a periphery of isolated innovators or fragments of very limited collaborations. Government and research institutes sit at the center of this core and act as hubs through which connections sprawl out. The core goes through two waves of expansion in late 1980s and 2000s. Federal laboratories are the main force behind both. The second wave also bears the hallmarks of second academic revolution, with a larger share of university–industry link formation and less government involvement. Technology also matters. Government and research organizations have traditionally been central to complex and knowledge-intensive technologies such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and chemistry. However, their outreach expands especially during the second wave to cover a more diversified portfolio of technologies.

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