Russel Funk

Russell Funk Receives Grant to Measure Scientific Innovation

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship Assistant Professor Russell Funk has received a $543,678 grant from the Science of Science and Innovation Policy, a division of the National Science Foundation, in order to develop new ways of identifying and fostering breakthroughs in scientific research.

“The government funds a whole lot of scientific research and is becoming more and more interested in finding ways to make sure the money is well spent,” he said. “It wants to know if picks good projects to fund and if it is moving the needle at all. We proposed a new way you can measure and quantify the impact of scientific research. The grant is to develop this measure.”

Funk’s co-PI for the three-year project, “Revisiting the Dynamics of Scientific Influence: Measures and Applications,” is Erin Leahey of the University of Arizona. “Her research is on science policy and STEM disciplines,” he said. “The measure we are proposing uses some ideas from social network analysis.”

To study scientific innovation, Funk and Leahey will rely on a “CD index,” which distinguishes between research work that consolidates (C) knowledge flows from those that destabilizes (D) knowledge flows. Such an index uniquely identifies the way in which a work is influential and can provide clearer and more robust answers to science policy questions.

Funk and Leahey believe the results from this project will allow people to not only identify research that is influential in different ways and to acknowledge how influence is achieved, but also learn how to foster the conditions that will promote such innovative research.