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Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies (STIS) research group is one of the three research groups at CWTS. The group is led by Robert Tijssen, who holds the chair of Science and Innovation Studies. The current STIS program was renewed in January 2020 and will run for three years.

STIS 2020-2022 

Intersections between science, technology, innovation (STI) systems are now at the heart of many new, exciting developments across the globe, and are increasingly see as a valuable force of positive change in societies (welfare) and economies (wealth). Funders, policymakers and other stakeholders expect useful outputs and impacts from scientific research, technological development and user-oriented innovations in the marketplace, but are often faced with a lack of knowledge or insufficient comparative data into the key determinants and interactions that connect knowledge creation processes to applications, impacts and innovations. Social sciences research helps to address that information gap by posing relevant questions, highlighting problems and issues, and creating clarity and insights.

CWTS research done within the STIS program touches on a wide range of STI topics and STI policy issues. The STIS 2020-2022 research program at CWTS adopts an STI ecosystem approach and comprises three newly developed research lines:

  • STI knowledge bases - societal challenges and transformation of complex systems;
  • Geographic and economic studies of research activity and scientific impact;
  • Unfolding the human factor in science and innovation.

The overarching objectives of this program are: (a) conduct high-quality research; (b) generate meaningful impact in global science and beyond; (c) further develop the STIS-related information infrastructures at CWTS; (d) contribute to CWTS research networks.

Although STIS 2020-2022 is designed to be more open to qualitative research approaches, the program’s main thrust is still on the development and application of models and methodologies for quantitative analysis of empirical data. Many of its curiosity-driven or problem-driven research projects - ranging from evidence-based studies of ‘people and places’ to innovative approaches for metrics-based monitoring and evaluation of STI performance - will therefore continue to be data-informed or data-driven.

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Research lines and projects

Each research line consists of several projects, where one or more the STIS members act as project leader or (co-)supervisor. The new projects in 2020 are:

1. STI knowledge bases - societal challenges and transformation of complex systems

1.1: Global South system innovation assessment: hotspots, connectivity, cooperation, and excellence (project leader: Robert Tijssen)

1.2: Tracking private R&D developments through scientific literature (project leader: Alfredo Yegros)

1.3: Dynamics of science-technology relationships (project leader: Jos Winnink)

1.4: Field differences in science (project leader: Gaston Heimeriks)

1.5: Biomedical research portfolios (project leader: Alfredo Yegros)

1.6: Mapping the contents of high level Korean programs (project leader: Ismael Rafols)

1.7: Mapping if the impact of matches expected outcomes (project leader: Ismael Rafols)

1.8: Knowledge transfer/exchanges captured via social media metrics and social media productive interactions (project leader: Rodrigo Costas)

1.9: Mapping SDGs (project leaders: Ismael Rafols and Gaston Heimeriks)

2. Geographic and economic studies of research activity and scientific impact

2.1: University-Industry Hubs (project leader: Gaston Heimeriks)

2.2: Regional Science and Policy (project leader: Gaston Heimeriks)

2.3: Urban Scaling and Socio-Economic Performance of Knowledge–Intensive Cities (project leader: Ton van Raan)

3. Unfolding the human factor in science and innovation

3.1: Workforce indicators (project leader: Rodrigo Costas)

3.2: Performance typologies of academic researchers (project leader: Robert Tijssen)

3.3: Sleeping Beauties and Sleeping Inventions: Opinions of the Authors and Inventors (project leader: Ton van Raan)

Most of these STIS projects involve some degree of scientific cooperation – either with other STIS colleagues, those active within other CWTS research units, or partners outside CWTS.

More information

For more information about the entire STIS 2020-2022 program and its research activities, please contact Prof. Robert Tijssen. The individual STIS project leaders are happy to provide further information.

Group members

Peter van Dongen

Visiting researcher at the STIS group.With a background in intellectual property, engineering and technology transfer, Peter’s research interest focusses on factors which drive scientists to come forward with innovations in their disciplines, and how their innovations create societal impact.


Rodrigo Costas

Senior researcher. Rodrigo's research focuses on the development of new social media metrics (altmetrics), new scientometric applications at the individual-level and the study of funding acknowledgements.


Soohong Eum

Soohong Eum is a PhD candidate. His research interests are governance of public R&D system, and the relationship between organizational structure and innovation. 


Gaston Heimeriks

Research fellow at CWTS. His research addresses evolutionary knowledge dynamics to understand how geographic regions, economic sectors and scientific fields create new ideas. 


Ton van Raan

Emeritus professor of Quantitative Studies of Science. Ton's research focuses on the application of bibliometric indicators in research evaluation, science as a self-organizing complex system, statistics of bibliometric indicators, ranking and benchmarking of universities, and mapping of science.


Ismael Rafols

Ismael Rafols is a senior researcher at CWTS. He works on the development of novel approaches to S&T indicators for informing evaluation, foresight and research strategies. His current focus is on research priority setting, in particular for societal challenges such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in health and agriculture.


Robert Tijssen

Professor of Science & Innovation Studies. Coordinator of the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) research group at CWTS. Robert's research interests focus on knowledge flows, linkages, and interactions between science and innovation, with an emphasis on the role of universities.



Jos Winnink

Senior researcher. Jos is a member of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies research group (STIS). His research focuses on knowledge flows in the interface between science and technology. He has a special interest in the proliferation of discoveries in frontier science (breakthroughs) into game-changing technologies.


Alfredo Yegros

Senior researcher and member of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Studies (STIS) research group. Alfredo's research interests include, among others, public-private interactions and knowledge flows, science-technology linkages, and relationship between science/technology and innovation.

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