nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2018‒08‒20
five papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Tartu Ülikool

  1. Addressing the innovation gap: Lessons from the Stairway to Excellence (S2E) project By Nida Kamil Ozbolat; Nicholas Harrap
  2. Funding Breakthrough Research: Promises and Challenges of the “ARPA Model” By Pierre Azoulay; Erica Fuchs; Anna Goldstein; Michael Kearney
  3. Public Contracting for Private Innovation: Government Expertise, Decision Rights, and Performance Outcomes By Joshua R. Bruce; John M. de Figueiredo; Brian S. Silverman
  4. Untangling the radical imaginaries of the Indignados' movement: Commons, autonomy and ecologism By Asara, Viviana
  5. How Do Travel Costs Shape Collaboration? By Christian Catalini; Christian Fons-Rosen; Patrick Gaulé

  1. By: Nida Kamil Ozbolat (European Commission - JRC); Nicholas Harrap (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: There is a considerable territorial disparity in terms of research and innovation (R&I) performance within Europe between EU15 and EU13 Member States (MSs) . The two biggest European funds, European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Horizon 2020 (H2020), aim at supporting the development of European competitiveness, growth, knowledge generation and as well as closing the innovation gap and promoting research excellence across Europe. Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) play a key role in fostering an efficient and inclusive Research and Innovation (R&I) ecosystem by creating the right framework for focused investments based on selected high value added priorities and a shared vision of territorial development. Also, the European Commission's project Stairway to Excellence (S2E) is focussed on the provision of assistance to EU MSs and Regions with emphasis on promoting R&I excellence and maximising the specific value added of S3 investments such as the capacity building to support for R&I activities and exploitation of research results for raising the overall social/economic impact. This report summarises the main outcomes of the activities undertaken by the S2E team during the initial phase of the project from June 2014 to January 2017). It focuses on the S2E Country Reports – produced by the national independent experts and provided analysis on the optimal use of key European R&I funds – and the Joint Statements of S2E National Events – an outcome of national events covering the issues and main conclusions - as well as the other analytical work of the project. By picking those issues and actions common to more than one country and frequently mentioned, the main bottlenecks and possible policy actions to address these issues are summarised within three dimensions; namely, quality of R&I governance, capacity building, and innovation and commercialisation. This analysis and particularly the policy recommendations offer solutions for these issues that can also contribute to closing the innovation gap in Europe, which is demonstrated by the annual European Innovation Scoreboard comparing the performance of the EU MSs.
    Keywords: Innovation gap, Research Excellence, Innovation, European Funding, Smart Specialisation, ESIF, Horizon 2020, Cohesion Policy, Stairway to Excellence, S2E
    Date: 2018–07
  2. By: Pierre Azoulay; Erica Fuchs; Anna Goldstein; Michael Kearney
    Abstract: From its 1958 origin in defense, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) model for research funding has, in the last two decades, spread to other parts of the US federal government with the goal of developing radically new technologies. In this paper, we propose that the key elements of the ARPA model for research funding are: organizational flexibility on an administrative level, and significant authority given to program directors to design programs, select projects and actively manage projects. We identify the ARPA model’s domain as mission-oriented research on nascent S-curves within an inefficient innovation system. Finally, we describe some of the challenges to implementing the ARPA model, and we comment on the role of ARPA in the landscape of research funding approaches.
    JEL: I23 O31 O32 Q55
    Date: 2018–06
  3. By: Joshua R. Bruce; John M. de Figueiredo; Brian S. Silverman
    Abstract: We examine how the U.S. Federal Government governs R&D contracts with private-sector firms. The government chooses between two contractual forms: grants and cooperative agreements. The latter provides the government substantially greater discretion over, and monitoring of, project progress. Using novel data on R&D contracts and on the geo-location and technical expertise of each government scientist over a 12-year period, we test implications from the organizational economics and contracting literatures. We find that cooperative agreements are more likely to be used for early-stage projects and those for which local government scientific personnel have relevant technical expertise; in turn, cooperative agreements yield greater innovative output as measured by patents, controlling for endogeneity of contract form. The results are consistent with multi-task agency and transaction-cost approaches that emphasize decision rights and monitoring.
    JEL: H11 H57 L14 L24 L33 O32
    Date: 2018–06
  4. By: Asara, Viviana
    Abstract: The "movements of the squares" involved first and foremost an awakening or re-discovering of the radical imagination both in the square encampments, and in later projects created with the movements' decentralizations. The new alternative projects born after the square have materialized the movements' radical imaginaries in urban environments, extending and deepening concerns of broad political change over everyday life. Based on ethnographic work on the Indignados' movement in the city of Barcelona, this paper delves more particularly into three Indignant urban projects. It untangles three common and interlinked radical imaginaries both embodied and actualized in participants' social practices, and further orienting their future visions: commons, autonomy and ecologism. Scrutinizing their meaning, it also sheds light on connected issues such new ways of interfacing with local state authorities and redefining the boundaries between the public and the common. It shows that the ecologism imaginary cannot be properly grasped if disconnected from the other two imaginaries, and argues that a transformative eco-politics can only be claimed as such if it is able to articulate such an integrated vision typical of "socio-environmental movements".
    Keywords: Indignados, imaginary, movement of the squares, commons, autonomy, environment
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Christian Catalini; Christian Fons-Rosen; Patrick Gaulé
    Abstract: We develop a simple theoretical framework for thinking about how geographic frictions, and in particular travel costs, shape scientists' collaboration decisions and the types of projects that are developed locally versus over distance. We then take advantage of a quasi-experiment - the introduction of new routes by a low-cost airline - to test the predictions of the theory. Results show that travel costs constitute an important friction to collaboration: after a low-cost airline enters, the number of collaborations increases by 50%, a result that is robust to multiple falsification tests and causal in nature. The reduction in geographic frictions is particularly beneficial for high quality scientists that are otherwise embedded in worse local environments. Consistent with the theory, lower travel costs also endogenously change the types of projects scientists engage in at different levels of distance. After the shock, we observe an increase in higher quality and novel projects, as well as projects that take advantage of complementary knowledge and skills between sub-fields, and that rely on specialized equipment. We test the generalizability of our findings from chemistry to a broader dataset of scientific publications, and to a different field where specialized equipment is less likely to be relevant, mathematics. Last, we discuss implications for the formation of collaborative R&D teams over distance.
    JEL: L93 O18 O3 O31 O33 R4
    Date: 2018–06

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