The NET-GENESIS (NET-GENESIS: Network micro-dynamics in emerging technologies) project has investigated the factors affecting the genesis and dynamics of networks. Such knowledge is critical for the development of socially-optimal technological options. Project researchers identified five attributes of emerging technologies that include fast growth, coherence, impact and uncertainty. They used major empirical approaches to develop a framework for the detection and study of emerging technologies. A key development is the freely available data processing tool called medlineR, based on R-statistics. Users can match relevant data from MEDLINE/PubMed with records indexed in the ISI Web of Science (WoS) database. This enables users to perform scientometric analyses on emerging technologies to generate longitudinal collaborative networks of institutions and authors. NET-GENESIS researchers developed a 'Triple Helix' model to study emerging technologies in the medical domain in terms of demand, supply and technological capabilities. They also performed comparative case-studies of emerging technologies for cervical cancer, RNA interference and magnetic resonance imaging. Results provided insight into factors hindering or promoting technological development. Funding data on emerging technology is an important parameter that the NET-GENESIS team investigated. This provided an overview of the networks of public and private funders that may support emerging technologies. Such information can identify technologies that are anticipated to have fast growth or prominent impact. Co-authorship data on scientific publications helped to identify the longitudinal inter-organisational network during the emergence process. This shed light on the different network variables and actors involved. Take for instance, cervical cancer diagnostics and microneedle technologies for transdermal drug delivery. The role of different institutions – research and higher education, government, hospital care, industry, and non-governmental organisations – in the origin and growth of emerging technology was highlighted. NET-GENESIS activities have provided unprecedented knowledge on the complex network dynamics around emerging technologies by accounting for the differences in reward systems, incentives and power structures. The NET-GENESIS tool for the study of emerging technologies will be an invaluable aid for making evidence-based policies. This in turn should promote the development of promising technologies in biomedical and other areas that can positively impact socioeconomic growth.
Network, emerging technologies, NET-GENESIS, medlineR, policies