Dr. Gaston Heimeriks has many years of experience in science, technology and innovation studies. A common theme in his work is the understanding and governance of scientific, technological and social change in the knowledge based economy. He has published on topics such as foresight, regional innovation, the globalisation of corporate invention, new modes of knowledge production and research and innovation policy.
Knowledge is increasingly recognised as drivers of productivity and economic growth, as well as vital resources in addressing societal challenges. Perhaps the single most salient characteristic of recent economic and innovative activities has been the rising reliance upon codified knowledge as a basis for the organization and conduct of socio-economic activities, affecting individual and organizational competencies and the localization of scientific and technological advances. 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.
Gaston Heimeriks is concerned with the quantitative measurement of the codified knowledge base. Scientific communications and patents are extremely well archived, and therefore, we have a wealth of data at our disposal when we study the dynamics of the sciences and science-based technologies. His research and teaching focuses on the mechanisms governing the evolution of knowledge production. Knowledge production varies in many different ways, according to specific scientific and technological fields, institutional and local context. The study of the dynamics of knowledge is considered as a goal in itself, but is also an important prerequisite to investigate the governance of science, technology and innovation.
Current scientometric research focuses on the worldwide spatial evolution of scientific knowledge production in biotechnology. Current patentometric research focuses on the conceptual and methodological issues of using patents to investigate the structure, dynamics and performance of corporate invention with respect to geographical, technological and sector specific characteristics.
Science 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.
However, in order to stimulate innovation it is essential to obtain insight in the underlying mechanisms by which innovation arises; to have a model of innovation. The innovation studies literature offers several such models. Current theories on innovation often stress the fact that innovation is a process involving a network of different types of actors, interactions and feedbacks. Another important insight is that innovation is process of path dependent evolution.
In order to obtain a thorough understanding of the material it is important that students actively participate in the course. Therefore the course offers assignments where student have to (1) derive models from theory, (2) operationalise these models into science and innovation indicators, and (3) assess the innovative performance of nations, industries, clusters, researchers or firms using these indicators.
The course aids student in choosing, using and reporting on an appropriate research design and methods, with a specific emphases on empirical (quantitative) data. It furthermore helps students to acquire the appropriate skills for preparing a Master’s Thesis which includes original or secondary data, and is also essential for those that have the ambition to get further involved in research in this area.
Theory and Practice of Innovation Policy (BSc)
The Innovation Policy course consists of a series of lectures that address the reasons (why/ for what) for, the methods (how) for, and the results (what) obtained from government intervention in innovation trajectories. The guiding metaphor of the course is the ongoing co-evolution between the theory, practice and governance of innovation (‘the policy dance’). The knowledge gained by the students in this part of the course is subsequently applied in the form of project-based training when setting out a specific policy trajectory.
At the end of this class the student will have learned to apply the knowledge obtained over the past two years (in science, social science and innovation theories) to write a policy report to support innovation processes and systems in the public domain.
Topics for student theses
Current scientometric research focuses on the worldwide spatial evolution of scientific knowledge production. We analyse key words in scientific publications as a proxy for knowledge production as a dynamic interplay between the local and global level. The evolution of knowledge is subject to resource-, path- and place-dependent processes.
Current patentometric research focuses on the conceptual and methodological issues of using patents to investigate the structure, dynamics and performance of corporate invention with respect to geographical, technological and sector specific characteristics.
See for example
Heimeriks, G. and Boschma, R. (forthcoming) The path- and place-dependent nature of scientific knowledge production in biotech 1986-2008, Journal of Economic Geography <pdf>
Heimeriks, G. and Leydesdorff, L. (2012) Emerging Search Regimes: Measuring Co-evolutions among Research, Science, and Society, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 24 (2) <pdf>
More publications here.