Do interdisciplinary collaborations lead to funding? --- A study on proposal networks

Authors: Yujia Pan*, SUNY - Buffalo, Ling Bian, SUNY - Buffalo
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: social network analysis, scientific collaborations, co-investigation relationships
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Congressional B, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The grant proposal collaboration is one of the scientific collaboration forms. Although a prevalent practice in the academic setting, we know little about the characteristics of such collaboration. This presentation attempts to 1) explore the collaborative behavior in grant proposal development and 2) uncover the relationship between interdisciplinary proposals and funding success. We employ social network analysis to investigate the behavior of the proposal collaboration. Regression models and other analytic methods are used to decipher the relationship between interdisciplinary proposals and funding success. Data of proposals submitted and awarded from a research university between the fiscal year 2011 and 2015 are collected for the intended study. We aim to address three specific research questions: What is the topology of the grant proposal networks where nodes are investigators and edges are grant proposal collaborations? For proposals involving collective efforts, do interdisciplinary collaborations occur more than expected between disciplines? And, do interdisciplinary proposals associate with funding success? It is discovered that the proposal collaboration is relatively sparse with a few consistent central principal investigators. When interdisciplinary collaborations are involved, investigators tend to work with others within the same discipline in a broad sense. Lastly, while interdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged by policy, the association between interdisciplinary proposals and funding success is inconclusive. Findings of this study may assist faculties to identify collaborators. Furthermore, although this study focuses on one university, the findings can be applied to inform funding agencies and the broad research community.

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