UM Data Science Research Seminar

Fabiana Visentin and Bart Verspagen, UNU-MERIT

The UM Data Science Research Seminar Series are monthly sessions organised by the Institute of Data Science, on behalf of the UM Data Science Community, in collaboration with different departments across UM with the aim to bring together data scientists from Maastricht University to discuss breakthroughs and research topics related to Data Science.

This session is organised in collaboration with UNU-MERIT. This event is free and open to everyone. Please register before Thursday 19th May, 11:59 A.M.


  • Presentation 1

Time: 12:00 - 12:30

Speaker: Fabiana Visentin

Title: Research independence: Drivers and impact on PhD students’ careers

Early-career scientists are often asked to prove their research independence when applying for academic positions or grants. However, only a few large-scale empirical studies investigate the factors leading to research independence and the link between research independence and academic success. Drawing upon unique data on the entire population of French STEM PhD students who graduated between 2004 and 2013, we explore the factors leading PhDs to pursue independent research from their supervisors during their PhD training period, and how independence links to their future career outcomes. Using an advanced neural network algorithm, we measure independence as the content dissimilarity between a PhD student's thesis and their supervisor’s publications content. We find that independence is significantly associated with the student’s characteristics such as gender, age, nationality, and supervisor’s academic profile. We also find that the student’s independence predicts the probability of starting an academic career and, conditional on starting an academic career, a higher number of articles published during the 5 years after graduation. However, the higher scientific productivity in terms of quantity comes at the cost of receiving fewer citations and having a lower probability of obtaining an academic position in a foreign country or the US.

  • Presentation 2

Time: 12:30 - 13:00

Speaker: Bart Verspagen

Title: Some New Views on Product Space and Related Diversification (with Önder Nomaler)

We aim to contribute to the literature on product space and diversification by proposing a number of extensions of the current literature: (1) we propose that the alternative but related idea of a country space also has empirical and theoretical appeal; (2) we argue that the loss of comparative advantage should be an integral part of (testing the empirical relevance of) the product space idea; (3) we propose several new indicators for measuring relatedness in product space; and (4) we propose a non-parametric statistical test based on bootstrapping to test the empirical relevance of the product space idea.

Venue: Online

Date: 19 May 2022

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CEST