Recent Award

Collaborative Research: Science Policy Research Report: Government Brokerage of Innovation Networks

Federal agencies offer American innovators at least two different sources of support: first, seed money and consulting services that would be all but inaccessible to early stage entrepreneurs at competitive market prices; and second, introductions to potential partners in collaborative networks. Given that innovation demands collaboration as well as competition, the latter contributions are no less important than the former. But they are decidedly less well known and understood. This is partly because federal efforts to build collaborative networks tend to occur early in the process, before innovations come to market and capture the public's imagination; and partly because they are informal, and public officials have an incentive to downplay their informal contributions, which tend to go unmeasured and unrewarded by their agencies, and highlight their formal roles, like offering small firms and start-ups low-cost finance and consulting services. The unintended consequence of this oversight, however, is that federal efforts to build innovation networks are hard to document and duplicate. By evaluating the extent and importance of the federal government's role in network-building, this research report considers the development of new mandates, metrics, and incentives that will encourage beneficial brokerage by public officials, innovation by their private counterparts, and prosperity in the country as a whole.

Principal Investigator: 

Joshua Whitford

Associate Professor of Sociology

Home Department: 

Date: 

Saturday, July 1, 2017 to Saturday, June 30, 2018

Amount: 

$24,109

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