Doctoral Dissertation Research: International Collaboration and Research Capabilities

Project Investigator: 
Gonzalo Ordonez
Project Co-Investigators: 
Susan Cozzens
National Science Foundation NSF Award No. 0647126
Project Duration: 
May 2007

Recent trends show that Colombian R&D performance is rapidly improving as compared to countries of similar economic characteristics in the region. This is presumably the result of two 'mega trends' characterizing the Colombian Science and Technology System: 1) the rapid professionalization of the R&D enterprise as materialized by the formation of research teams with the support of the Colombian government and the elite research institutions, and 2) the internationalization of its scientific community specially since the 90s after the opening of the economy to foreign trade. The purpose of this Science and Society Dissertation Improvement Grant is to provide funds for data collection that will contribute to the understanding of the ways international research collaboration can affect local scientific and technological capabilities as reflected by the performance of research teams in Colombia. In this framework, S&T capabilities will be measured by the productivity of the teams; the quality of their outputs; their contribution to the education of students in the S&T domains; their ability to contribute to local knowledge; and their ability to innovate. Mediating factors such as team characteristics, partner characteristics, scientific discipline, sector, localization, characteristics of the teams' home institution, team size, team age, and characteristics of the team leader will be analyzed to better understand the ways international research collaboration affects research team performance. This research is in many respects innovative: 1) it attempts to empirically address an issue relatively neglected in the research policy literature: the positive and negative effects of international research collaboration in a developing country context; 2) it uses research teams as unit of analysis and as strategic policy targets given its role as building blocks of the Colombian national science and technology and innovation system; and 3) applies a set of econometric techniques designed to minimize the effects of endogeneity and selection bias increasingly used in program evaluation to assess the impact of policy interventions but never used to answer the research questions and hypotheses formulated. This research attempts to support the design of policy tools oriented to the exploitation of the opportunities international collaboration can offer to developing countries as a way to reduce their lagging condition, and to support the identification of mechanisms for avoiding the non-negligible risks implicit in such endeavor.