Research Interests

Dr. Gaston Heimeriks is Assistant Professor at the Department of Innovation Studies, Copernicus Institute, Utrecht University. He has many years of experience as a researcher and policy adviser on science, technology and innovation. An interdisciplinary academic by choice, Heimeriks’ efforts focus on the understanding and governance of the complex dynamics arising from the co-evolution of knowledge, economy and societal institutions.

His approach includes the analyses of publication and patent data, the development of new methods and metrics that combine the cognitive, economic and geographical aspects of innovation, making fruitful connections between interdisciplinary theorising and empirical research.

Theme 1 Knowledge DynamicsKnowledge

Knowledge developments take place in a complex, evolving system. The evolution of knowledge is characterised by a path-dependent process of branching; new knowledge is developed from recombinations of existing knowledge.

Furthermore, codified knowledge developments are unevenly distributed among topics and fields.
In general, codified knowledge production is growing, giving rise to more diverse topics and fields of research.

  • Heimeriks, G. (2013) Interdisciplinarity in Biotechnology, Genomics and Nanotechnology. Science and Public Policy 40 (1): 97-112
  • Heimeriks, G. and Vasileiadou, E. (2008) Changes or transition? Analysing the use of ICTs in the sciences. Social Science Information 47 (1),
  • Van Den Besselaar, P. and Heimeriks, G. (2006) Mapping research topics using word-reference co-occurrences: A method and an exploratory case study.  Scientometrics 68 (3), pp. 377-393
  • Heimeriks, G. and Van Den Besselaar, P.(2006)  Analyzing hyperlinks networks: The meaning of hyperlink based indicators of knowledge productionCybermetrics10 (1)
  • Heimeriks, G., Hörlesberger, M. and Van Den Besselaar, P. (2003) Mapping communication and collaboration in heterogeneous research networks.  Scientometrics 58 (2), pp. 391-413

Theme 2 Knowledge Based Innovation Dynamics

InnovationKnowledge is increasingly recognised as drivers of productivity and economic growth, as well as vital resources in addressing societal challenges. The term ‘knowledge-based economy’ stems from this fuller recognition of the place of organised knowledge in modern societies. This expansion of the codified knowledge base is reflected in an increasing diversity of locations, topics and institutions in knowledge productions.

Different organisations (and their aggregates in sectors) rely on knowledge to a different extent and are able to produce and apply knowledge to different degrees

  • Wieczorek AJ, Negro SO, Harmsen R, Heimeriks GJ, Luo L, Hekkert MP (2013) A review of the European offshore wind. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 26, pp. 294-306
  • Van Egmond, S., Brouwer, J.H., Heimeriks, G.J. and Hekkert, M.P. (2012) Overview and analysis of the Dutch CCS program as a knowledge network. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 11, (1-9)
  • Heimeriks, G. and Leydesdorff, L. (2012) Emerging Search Regimes: Measuring Co-evolutions among Research, Science, and Society, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 24 (1): 51-67

Theme 3 Geography of Science and InnovationGeo

Knowledge production is unevenly distributed across space. Regions and countries tend to expand into activities that are closely related to their existing capabilities. Knowledge production results from locally available skills, tacit knowledge, institutions and infrastructures that both enable and constrain the evolution of knowledge. Knowledge production is therefore subject to place dependencies.

In general, an increasing number of locations participate in knowledge production. In particular the proliferation of digital information and communication technologies is contributing to the globalisation of knowledge production.

  • Heimeriks, G. and Boschma, R. (2014) The path- and place-dependent nature of scientific knowledge production in biotech 1986-2008, Journal of Economic Geography 14 (2): 339-364
  • Boschma, R., Heimeriks, G. and P.A. Balland (2014) Scientific Knowledge Dynamics and Relatedness in Bio-Tech Cities.  Research Policy 43 (1) pp.107-114
  • Nomaler, Ö, Frenken, K., Heimeriks, G. (2013) Do more distant collaborations have more citation impact? Journal of Informetrics
  • Leydesdorff, L. and Heimeriks, G. (2001) The self-organization of the European information society: The case of “biotechnology” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 52 (14), pp. 1262-1274

Theme 4 Innovation Systems and Policy

THScience and innovation are considered important for economic growth, addressing societal challenges and improving quality of life. Many governments therefore attempt to stimulate science and innovation and set goals regarding the innovative performance of their nations, industries, universities and firms.

Place dependencies, resource dependencies, and path dependencies provide distinct mechanisms of variation and selection that interact and shape each other in a process of co-evolution. The study of the dynamics of knowledge is a goal in itself, but is also an important prerequisite to investigate the governance of science, technology and innovation.

  • Vasileiadou, E., Heimeriks, G. and Petersen A. (2011), “Exploring the Impact of IPCC Assessment Reports on science”, Environmental Science and Policy, 14 (8): 1052-1061
  • Warnke, P. and Heimeriks,G. (2008) Technology Foresight as Innovation Policy Instrument: Learning from Science and Technology Studies in Future-Oriented Technology Analysis. In Strategic Intelligence for an Innovative Economy. Cagnin, C.; Keenan, M.; Johnston, R.; Scapolo, F.; Barré, R. (Eds.) Springer  Berlin