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When birds of a feather don’t flock together: Different scientists and the roles they play in biotech R&D alliances

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  • Subramanian, Annapoornima M.
  • Lim, Kwanghui
  • Soh, Pek-Hooi

Abstract

A firm's ability to produce high-impact innovations depends upon the nature of its R&D alliances as well as its composition of scientific human capital. The firm's scientific human capital is made up of its scientists, who produce valuable research outputs and who engage with the broader scientific community, thus helping the firm to integrate new knowledge from universities and other firms. In this paper, we examine heterogeneity within the firm's scientific human capital, emphasizing the distinct role of ‘bridging scientists’ who engage in two related but dissimilar scientific activities: patenting and publishing. Using a panel dataset of 222 firms in biotechnology between 1990 and 2000, we show that bridging scientists have a positive and significant impact on patent performance relative to other scientists within the firm. Looking closer at bridging scientists, we draw a distinction between Pasteur bridging scientists and Edison bridging scientists, with the latter having less of an orientation towards fundamental research. We show that both types of bridging scientists complement the focal firm's R&D alliances with other firms. However, Pasteur bridging scientists are substitutive with university R&D alliances while Edison bridging scientists are complementary. Our findings suggest that the composition of a firm's scientific human capital and its R&D alliances interact in subtle ways to impact patent performance.

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  • Subramanian, Annapoornima M. & Lim, Kwanghui & Soh, Pek-Hooi, 2013. "When birds of a feather don’t flock together: Different scientists and the roles they play in biotech R&D alliances," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 595-612.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:3:p:595-612
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.12.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Ali, Ayfer & Gittelman, Michelle, 2016. "Research paradigms and useful inventions in medicine: Patents and licensing by teams of clinical and basic scientists in Academic Medical Centers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1499-1511.
    2. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9550-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:158-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Herrera, Liliana & Nieto, Mariano, 2016. "PhD careers in Spanish industry: Job determinants in manufacturing versus non-manufacturing firms," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 341-351.
    5. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9469-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Riccardo Crescenzi & Andrea Filippetti & Simona Iammarino, 2017. "Academic inventors: collaboration and proximity with industry," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 730-762, August.
    7. Mostak Ahamed Galib & Kamrun Nahar Munny, 2015. "The Inclusion of Academicians into the Industry Sector in Bangladesh: A Model of Industry Engagement and Effective Innovation Performance," International Journal of Management Science and Business Administration, Inovatus Services Ltd., vol. 1(6), pages 7-18, May.
    8. Barge-Gil, Andres & D'Este, Pablo & Herrera, Liliana, 2018. "Corporate scientists as the triggers of transitions towards firms' exploration research strategies," MPRA Paper 85415, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Soh, Pek-Hooi & Subramanian, Annapoornima M., 2014. "When do firms benefit from university–industry R&D collaborations? The implications of firm R&D focus on scientific research and technological recombination," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 807-821.

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