IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Networks as sponges: International collaboration for developing nanomedicine in China


  • Leung, Ricky C.


Previous research tended to emphasize the benefits of international collaboration. This emphasis has led to a common belief that international collaboration will necessarily enhance productivity in science, innovativeness, and even societal impact. Yet, benefits and costs are relative. Economic actors and scientists do not perceive benefits in the same way in all contexts, and there are situational barriers to overcome for materializing the benefits of collaboration. This study examines the case of Chinese science actors who develop medical applications with nanotechnology, and highlights the “barriers to networks” when scientists attempt to collaborate overseas for an emerging technology. I present my findings with the metaphors of “pipes”, “prisms”, and “sponges”, and propose a framework for evaluating the utility of international collaborative networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Leung, Ricky C., 2013. "Networks as sponges: International collaboration for developing nanomedicine in China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 211-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:1:p:211-219 DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.05.001

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ding, X. L., 1994. "Institutional Amphibiousness and the Transition from Communism: The Case of China," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 293-318, July.
    2. Chung-Leung Luk & Oliver H M Yau & Leo Y M Sin & Alan C B Tse & Raymond P M Chow & Jenny S Y Lee, 2008. "The effects of social capital and organizational innovativeness in different institutional contexts," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 39(4), pages 589-612, June.
    3. Irwin, Douglas A & Klenow, Peter J, 1994. "Learning-by-Doing Spillovers in the Semiconductor Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1200-1227, December.
    4. Andrew Cumbers & Danny Mackinnon & Keith Chapman, 2003. "Innovation, collaboration, and learning in regional clusters: a study of SMEs in the Aberdeen oil complex," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 35(9), pages 1689-1706, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:scient:v:102:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1508-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Johannes VAN DER POL, 2016. "Social interactions between innovating firms: an analytical review of the literature," Cahiers du GREThA 2016-23, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    3. repec:spr:scient:v:102:y:2015:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1418-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Guan, JianCheng & Zuo, KaiRui & Chen, KaiHua & Yam, Richard C.M., 2016. "Does country-level R&D efficiency benefit from the collaboration network structure?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 770-784.

    More about this item


    Networks; Emerging technology; Collaboration; China;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:1:p:211-219. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.