Scientific Networks and IDEX Funding

About the Project

Scientific collaboration networks play a crucial role in modern science. This simple idea underlies a variety of initiatives aiming to promote scientific collaborations between different research teams, universities, countries and disciplines. The recent French IDEX experience is one of them. By fostering competition between universities and granting few of them with a relatively small amount of additional resources (as compare to their global budget), public authorities aim to encourage them to deeply reshape the way academic activities are organized in order to significantly increase the quality of their research, educational programs and innovative activities. The development of new collaboration networks is one of the factors at the heart of this global reorganization.

Promoting new international and/or interdisciplinary collaborations is supposed to increase researchers’ productivity and industry partnerships. This project aims to question the validity of this line of thought. To do this, we will develop both quantitative and qualitative comprehensive analyses. The quantitative analyses will use bibliometric and patent databases to build complex collaboration networks involving researchers of all French institutions that applied to the different waves of IDEX program. The shape and dynamics of these networks will be compared across IDEX applicants to determine if researchers affiliated to a university awarded with IDEX changed their collaborative behavior. Modern microeconometric methods will then be applied to detect if awarded universities benefited from a significant change in the quality of their scientific production (measured by publications and patents) and if this change can be attributed, at least partly, to the network transformation. Qualitative analyses will complement the quantitative ones by conducting semi-structured interviews with researchers involved in IDEX programs. The interviews will investigate the way the dramatic changes implied by the implementation of IDEX programs are perceived by the researchers, the challenges raised by interdisciplinary research collaborations, the researchers’ underlying motives to build scientific networks, and the fine-grained content of their informal information exchange. This qualitative research will shed a complementary light on the results that will emerge from the quantitative analysis.

Principal Investigator
Project's partner(s)
  • I3S
  • Inria Sophia-Antipolis Méditerranée
  • SKEMA Business School
  •  September 2018 - December 2021
Total Amount
  • 213 000 euros
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Related Documentation
  • Project SNIF presentation (Day of projects restitution of the Academy “Networks, Information and Digital Society", 7/03/2022)