When researchers decide on their next research subject, they can make a coherent choice continuing to pursue their previous research or they can open a new research avenue. Moreover, they can choose a subject aligned to state-of-the-art science in their field or investigate a more rooted subject. This paper assesses how the choice of the research subject is rewarded by the scientific community. To do that, we explore unique data from the Sloan Research Fellowship grant, a prestigious fellowship awarded to early-stage US researchers. By analyzing the text of 2,494 applications we find that, on average, the alignment with the state-of-the-art science is positively rewarded with the fellowship, while coherence with previous research does not count. Interestingly, there is heterogeneity across fields. In life science and chemistry, the coherence with the previous research is positively rewarded as well as the alignment with the state-of-the-art science, while, in physics, both coherence and alignment do not affect the chances of being awarded the fellowship.
About the speaker
My main research interest concerns the economics of science. In particular, I am interested in the empirical analysis of scientists' productivity, career, teaching quality, and propensity to engage in technology transfer activities. I am currently associate professor at the University of Nice, research fellow at ICRIOS, Bocconi University and at BRICK, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
Date: 12 December 2019
Time: 12:00 - 13:00