Does it pay to do ‘novel’ science? Based on applications to a Swiss research funding programme, a new article finds that novel scientists have a higher probability of applying for funds than non-novel scientists, but that on average they receive lower ratings by grant evaluators and have lower chances of being funded.
When it comes to learning and innovation, do small firms differ from large ones across India? A new article weighs up formal and informal learning approaches in small and large firms in the capital goods industry. The authors find that informal learning and experience-based innovation is linked to improved performance, particularly among small firms.
These are just two questions tackled by our researchers in June 2021 — in six working papers, five journal articles and five PhD defences, among many others. Click here for the full list of our most recent publications.
The ‘European Innovation Scoreboard 2021′ provides a comparative analysis of innovation performance in EU countries, other European countries and regional neighbours. It assesses the relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems and helps countries identify areas they need to address. This year’s European Innovation Scoreboard is based on a revised framework, which includes new indicators on digitalisation and environmental sustainability, bringing the scoreboard more in line with EU political priorities. On average, innovation performance has increased by 12.5% across the EU since 2014. There is continued convergence within the bloc, with lower-performing countries growing faster than higher-performing ones, therefore closing the innovation gap among them. According to the 2021 Regional Innovation Scoreboard, this trend applies to innovation across EU regions. The regional innovation scoreboard (RIS) is a regional extension of the European innovation scoreboard (EIS), assessing the innovation performance of European regions on a limited number of indicators. Both reports were released together with their respective methodology reports, the European Innovation Scoreboard 2021 Methodology report, the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2021 Methodology report, and How to measure environmental innovation. By Hugo Hollanders, Nordine Es-Sadki, Adriana Rantcheva, et al.
‘EU Exit Regimes in Practice: Sustainable Return and Reintegration in Albania’ presents an in-depth examination of the out-migration and return migration of Albanians seeking asylum in the EU. This report provides a case study of the EU Exit regime’s implications for return and reintegration processes in Albania. The findings confirm the findings of existing studies on the multiple reasons for Albanian asylum-seeking and the persistence of these factors upon return, thus challenging sustainable reintegration and motivating further migration movements. This case study adds to a growing consensus that reintegration is best understood as a multi-dimensional process. By Talitha Dubow, Sze Eng Tan and Dr. Katherine Kuschminder.
‘European Union‘ is a chapter in the UNESCO Science Report: the Race against Time for Smarter Development. The authors argue that in many ways, the EU offers an ideal framework for testing new policies for a green transition at the supranational level. This experiment in multinational governance could then potentially be adapted to suit multinational contexts elsewhere in the world. They suggest that the challenge for the EU, as for most of the world, will be to redirect investment in the future post-pandemic world to sustainability and climate adaptation and mitigation. Leadership in green innovation will no longer be sufficient. Implementation and practical outcomes at the global level will be what matters. Global collaboration and co-operation will be the essential tools. By Prof. Luc Soete, Hugo Hollanders et al.
‘Do main paths reflect technological trajectories? Applying main path analysis to the semiconductor manufacturing industry‘ examines whether main path analysis can be used to identify technological trajectories in patent-citation networks. In this article, the method is applied to a network composed of one million US patents and eight million citations in order to trace the backbone of the technological trajectory of the semiconductor manufacturing industry. An in-depth discussion of the method is presented, focusing on the many parameters that can be adjusted while applying it and on the consequences of adjusting any of them. Moreover, and differently from other papers on the subject, the result of the algorithm is analysed to determine if it indeed represents the most important technological contributions to the trajectory or if it is merely a collection of relevant and connected patents. This is made easier by the fact that the semiconductor industry has a clear and widely known technological trajectory that spans more than 50 years, Moore’s law. By PhD candidate Flavia Filippin.
‘Long-term (re)integration of persons trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation‘ focuses on the recovery and (re)integration processes of women victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Europe. This article looks at their life not just following a trafficking experience, but for several years afterwards. Particularly important factors for the sustainability of the (re)integration process were relationships built with service providers, relationships rebuilt with existing family members, or relationships built with new families that were established after the trafficking experience. By Dr. Biljana Meshkovska, Prof. Melissa Siegel et al.
‘Does It Pay to Do Novel Science? The Selectivity Patterns in Science Funding‘ shows that the science funding process does not always award the most novel scientists. Exploiting rich data on all applications to a leading Swiss research funding programme, this article finds that novel scientists have a higher probability of applying for funds than non-novel scientists, but that they get on average lower ratings by grant evaluators and have fewer chances of being funded. The authors discuss the implications for the allocation of scientific research spending. By Dr. Fabiana Visentin et al.
‘Sustaining the integrity of the threatened self: A cluster-randomised trial among social assistance applicants in the Netherlands‘ explores the potential of a novel self-affirmation intervention to mitigate the stereotypes and stigma threats associated with living on welfare or a low income. This article provides the first evidence on the role of self-affirmation in the realm of welfare assistance. The authors developed a new verbal self-affirmation intervention and tested it among a sample of 174 social assistance applicants in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Overall, self-affirmation has no average impact on individuals’ feelings of self-worth, stress, job search behaviour, self-efficacy or cognitive performance, but negatively affects feelings of societal belonging in the full sample. These results are sobering and at odds with the overwhelmingly positive findings of self-affirmation interventions in other studies. This cautions against using such an exercise for specific groups in the context under study. By Dr. Mira Bierbaum and Prof. Eleonora Nillesen.
‘STI-DUI innovation modes and firm performance in the Indian capital goods industry: Do small firms differ from large ones?‘ examines the effect of formal and informal learning modes followed by small and large firms on their overall performance in the capital goods industry. The authors observe that in the case of small firms the informal learning and experience-based innovation is related to improved performance, while the formal STI mode does not have any effect. On the other hand, for large firms, both STI and DUI innovation modes are positively related to their sales growth. The article indicates that building certain DUI capabilities may act as a pre-condition to enhance the strength of science and technology-based innovation strategies. By Dr. Nanditha Mathew and PhD candidate George Paily.
‘Lockdowns aimed at fighting COVID-19 causing more harm than good in Sub-Saharan Africa‘ argues that in the context of SSA, the socioeconomic, psychological and political impact of lockdowns may be much larger than that of its benefits. Although total population lock-downs can play a role in slowing down the spread of the virus, they, however, present a much higher cost to society. In the context of SSA, lockdowns seem to be unhelpful especially given that the population at risk is a small identifiable demographic. This commentary argues that a more useful approach would be to isolate, focus and direct available care to the most at-risk population in context-specific ways and carefully open up the countries. By Dr. Choolwe Muzyamba.
‘Women’s empowerment in Colombia: A multidimensional approach‘ proposes a multidimensional index of women’s empowerment offering a clear and measurable understanding of the concept of women’s empowerment to facilitate tracking future progress. This index puts forward specific indicators which allow for monitoring over time and can be adapted to monitor interventions and performance of programmes that target women’s empowerment. Ultimately, this would help in the improvement of the design of policies and function as a starting point to create more favourable conditions for women empowerment. By Dr. Zina Nimeh, Dr. Andrea Franco-Correa et al.
‘Religiosity, smoking and other addictive behaviours‘ investigate how external and internal religiosity relates to addictive behaviours like smoking, drinking and drugs among the young. This study shows that not religion as such or internal religiosity, but largely observable (external) religiosity prevents them from wallowing in those vices. By Prof. Klaus F. Zimmermann et al.
‘Who calls the shots and why? The role of actors and institutions in the response to the sovereign debt crisis in the euro area’ presents an assessment of the policy response to the sovereign debt crisis by actors at EU level. The empirical findings of this dissertation indicate that a multitude of factors plays a role in shaping the policy response to the sovereign debt crisis. The findings also show that due to the lack of crisis management capacities at EU level, the policy response shifted away from the European Commission to the European Council and the resourcefulness of Member States. Among euro area countries, France and Germany emerged as the leaders in the crisis response. France was the actor more influential at the conceptual level and Germany at the operational one. By Dr. Philip Drauz.
‘Essays on Conflict-Induced Displacement and Gender in Colombia’ applies a gender lens to the empirical analysis of the impacts of conflict-induced displacement. This dissertation focuses on the case of Colombia, a middle-income country with the second largest IDP population in the world. The study builds on evidence from various academic disciplines to estimate the effects of displacement on household structures, poverty, and gender norms. By Dr. Eliana Rubiano.
‘Financial risk, vulnerability and equity of access to health care services in Kenya’ responds to the concerns on how best to ensure equity of access to healthcare services while guaranteeing adequate protection for the most vulnerable against the financial costs of ill health. This dissertation focuses on the impact of lack of financial risk protection for individuals who use healthcare services and those who forgo healthcare services due to financial barriers. It starts by highlighting what is known on the extent of the financial risk gaps and the drivers of catastrophic health expenditure (CHE) across Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) countries. Using Kenya as a case study, it adds to the knowledge and evidence on equity of access by examining the socioeconomic inequalities in financial risk protection and the factors that sustain these inequalities. In addition, it explores the cost-related barriers to access healthcare services and the effect of shocks on the ability of households to invest in healthcare. By Dr. Purity Njagi.
‘Preferences and Performance of High School Students in Response to Scholarships, Information, and Co-education’ explores the effect of introducing the merit-based Ser Pilo Paga (SPP) scholarship to low-income students in Colombia on their subsequent academic performance. The dissertation provides new insights that can help students, parents, schools, and governments close the academic gap between low- and high-income students, as well as between females and males. This thesis provides evidence-based insights to pursue this aim and discuss the policy implications of those findings. The results have important implications for developing countries like Colombia, where academic achievement is highly dependent on opportunities, income, and sex, rather than individual academic potential. By Dr. Gloria Bernal.
‘Essays on informal versus formal economy choices‘ investigates the shadow of hierarchy in marine fisheries governance, using Mexican fisheries as the case study. This dissertation illustrates how a coastal state has the power to retract and expand its shadow, within its jurisdiction, according to its priorities and capacities. Although the state is immersed into different modes of governance, it preserves the capacity to indirectly influence governance systems, in order to compensate for losing day-to-day command and control in fisheries governance. It does so by regulating the boundaries of actors’ participation, the cognitive practice of fishing, and the institutional settings for different resource types in order to ensure sustainability. By Dr. Maria Espinosa Romero.
The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
Pixabay / S. Buissinne