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Bringing the lab back in: Personnel composition and scientific output at the MIT Department of Biology

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  • Conti, Annamaria
  • Liu, Christopher C.

Abstract

We study the link between a laboratory's personnel composition, its number and types of graduate students and postdocs, and the laboratory's productive output. Building upon a fine-grained dataset with full personnel lists from the MIT Department of Biology from 1966–2000, we find that while postdocs account for the large majority of publication outputs, graduate students and postdocs with external funding contribute equally to breakthrough publications. Moreover, technicians are key contributors to breakthrough publications, but not to overall productivity. Taken together, this study contributes to our understanding of knowledge work, as well as reinforcing the importance of a laboratory's personnel composition.

Suggested Citation

  • Conti, Annamaria & Liu, Christopher C., 2015. "Bringing the lab back in: Personnel composition and scientific output at the MIT Department of Biology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1633-1644.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:44:y:2015:i:9:p:1633-1644
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2015.01.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Aihua Chen & Donald Patton & Martin Kenney, 2016. "University technology transfer in China: a literature review and taxonomy," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 891-929, October.
    2. Broström, Anders, 2018. "Academic breeding grounds: Home department conditions and early career performance of academic researchers," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 465, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    3. Agrawal, Ajay & McHale, John & Oettl, Alexander, 2017. "How stars matter: Recruiting and peer effects in evolutionary biology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 853-867.
    4. Conti, Annamaria & Visentin, Fabiana, 2015. "A revealed preference analysis of PhD students’ choices over employment outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1931-1947.
    5. Baruffaldi, Stefano & Visentin, Fabiana & Conti, Annamaria, 2016. "The productivity of science & engineering PhD students hired from supervisors’ networks," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 785-796.

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