The NET-GENESIS project aims to investigate how networks form, evolve and are configured when a new technology emerges. These networks include a number of interlinked actors (e.g. individuals, organisations, institutions) extending across multiple domains in which the rewards systems, incentives and power structures can differ markedly (open science vs. market-based). The architecture of the relationships among these actors may exert a significant influence in shaping technological change in certain directions rather than others, which in turn may have the potential to provide more socially optimal or desirable technological options. In this regard, a number of examples can be identified to highlight the importance of these networks for emerging technologies. For instance, networks can represent channels through which entrepreneurs and firms access to the financial resources (e.g. venture capitals) required pursuing R&D activities. In addition, the open-innovation framework has highlighted how networks are critical conduits for the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and resources among the different actors involved in the innovation process. Finally, networks extend also across science and technology domains thus stimulating scientific discoveries and supporting the development of novel technological applications. However, while the literature contributing to our understanding on how network variables affect actors’ performance and behaviour is quite large, the genesis and dynamics of the networks surrounding emerging technologies remains a relatively unexplored area of research. The proposed project is a cutting-edge project that aims to contribute to filling this gap by conducting a comparative study (involving 6 case-studies) on the network micro-dynamics of emerging technologies across three industries, i.e. pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. To this end, a mixed qualitative-quantitative approach involving several levels of analysis will be adopted.
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