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University research centers and the composition of research collaborations

  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Political Science


Research collaboration is perhaps the singular feature that university research centers, broadly defined, share. Yet, there has been little systematic study of the center-level attributes that facilitate (or hinder) research collaboration at the individual level. This paper estimates whether center-level measures of research capacity and structure affect center affiliated university scientists' and engineers' collaborative behaviors. We consider the effects of center multidisciplinarity, size, and center ties to private firms and to federally funded centers programs on the time allocated to collaboration with researchers from industry, other universities, government laboratories, and abroad. Our analyses compare center to non-center scientists and also address within-group differences among center scientists. The findings demonstrate some center-level attributes to "map" to the expected collaborative behaviors while other center-level attributes do not. We conclude with a discussion of areas for future research and implications for the design and management of university research centers.

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