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 at CWTS.


Intersections between science, technology, innovation and higher education systems are now at the heart of new, exciting developments in developing 'smart' cities and regions, and a driving force of advanced economies. Research-active organisations and universities are often key contributors of high-quality human resources and applicable new knowledge. Research-intensive universities are increasingly seen as engines of innovation to support socioeconomic development. Funders, policy makers and other stakeholders expect useful outputs and impacts from academic scientific research and technological development, but still we have insufficient comparative data and policy-relevant insights into 'success factors'-key determinants and interactions that connect knowledge creation processes to applications, impacts and innovations.

STIS studies will range from large-scale exploratory analyses of science-technology linkages down to model-driven micro-level cases studies of high-profile academic researchers. STIS' longer-term goal has three components: (a) to provide evidence-based analytical frameworks, (b) new-generation indicators of R&D performance, and (c) deeper understanding of knowledge assets and socioeconomic impacts of research-intensive universities worldwide. While contributing to the evidence infrastructure on intersections and interfaces, STIS work will include work on inproving theoretical, conceptual and analytical models.

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Research lines

STIS comprises of four research lines, each led by one of the CWTS core members:

Innovative universities in the 21st century (led by Robert Tijssen)

The swift rise of world university rankings during the last 10 years has also ushered in new concepts for describing and branding universities to classify and study universities worldwide – labelling them as 'world class', 'flagship', 'innovative' or 'entrepreneurial'. This research line aims to develop a deeper understanding of these concepts and underlying notions of a contemporary university’s missions and goals. The focus is on critical assessments the notions 'innovative university' and  ‘entrepreneurial university’, either in terms of their analytical relevance within ranking systems or in relation to evidence-based strategic management within universities.

Effects of university-industry interactions on the disclosure of research findings and career progression (led by Alfredo Yegros)

This research line will focus on two of these barriers faced by academic researchers to engage in interactions with industrial partners: publication of findings resulting from collaborations with industry and the value of these collaborations in the progression of the academic career. Different methodological approaches (including bibliometrics, surveys or interviews) will be applied in this research line.

Knowledge flows between frontier science and breakthrough technologies (led by Jos Winnink)

Relationships between scientific discoveries and science-based technologies have been studied for a considerable number of years. This research line addresses generic factors that may play a dominant role in the science-technology transfer. An analytical model of those factors, as well as early warning signs of possible breakthroughs, may enable monitoring of how individual scientific discoveries evolve into science-based technologies.

STI analytics for Africa and developing countries (led by Robert Tijssen)

Breaking way from an emphasis on leading research universities in advanced economies, this line of research will focus on lesser developed nations, sub-Saharan Africa in particular. The range of research topics will be divers, from the development of methods for measuring and monitoring of R&D performance to descriptive models to assess socioeconomic impacts of research-active 'developmental' universities.


For more information about the STIS research group, please contact Robert Tijssen.

Group members

Robert Tijssen

Professor of Science & Innovation Studies. Robert's research interests focus on the multidimensional dynamics of knowledge flows, linkages, and interactions between the public sector and the private sector, between science and innovation.

Jos Winnink

PhD candidate. Jos's research focuses on early stage identification of scientific breakthroughs to better understand the interface between science and technology.

Alfredo Yegros

Researcher and member of the CWTS project board. Alfredo's research interests include the analysis of public-private research interactions and knowledge flows, the study of science-technology linkages, and the study of methods that potentially able to capture societal impact of scientific research.

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