Understanding collaboration patterns on funded research projects - a network analysis

Matthew Smith, Yasaman Sarabi, Dimitris Christopoulos

Contact: m.smith@greenwich.ac.uk

This study provides an examination of inter-organisational collaboration in the UK research system. Data is collected on organisational collaboration on projects funded by four key UK research councils; AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, and BBSRC. The organisational partnerships include both academic and non-academic institutions. A collaboration network is created for each research council, and an Exponential Random Graph Model (ERGM) is applied to inform on the mechanisms underpinning collaborative tie formation on research council funded projects. We find that in the sciences, collaborative patterns are much more hierarchical and concentrated in a small handful of actors compared to the social sciences and humanities projects. Institutions that are members of the elite Russell Group (a set of twenty-four high-ranking UK universities) are much more likely to be involved in collaborations across research councils.

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