Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography Research Research projects
The embedding of Lower Saxon organizations and regions in funded R & D collaboration networks

The embedding of Lower Saxon organizations and regions in funded R & D collaboration networks

Led by:  Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla Diez, Juniorprof. Dr. Tom Brökel
Team:  Christoph Rösler, Wladimir Müller, Jörg Jerusel (EU-Hochschulbüro)
Year:  2015
Funding:  The Lower Saxon Ministry of Science and Culture
Duration:  2013 - 2015
Is Finished:  yes

A quantitative-empirical analysis of the integration of knowledge networks, gatekeepers, and the role of different types of proximity

Companies but also public and private research institutions have different opportunities to obtain funding for their research and development (R & D) activities. In this context the federal states, federal ministries (e.g. Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)) and the EU by the research framework programs (FPs) provide extensive financial resources. The funding is increasingly realized in form of collaborative projects, in which different organizations can be involved. Through the promotion of inter-organizational R & D collaborations the policy aims at more efficient allocation of resources, on realized collective learning processes and knowledge spillovers.

Recent studies on this topic examine individual funding programs and analyze each in terms of the formation, structure and effects of politically induced knowledge networks. In this way, the embedding of companies and research institutions is not well represented in subsidized knowledge networks, because participation in various programs does not preclude simultaneous participation in other programs.

The overall objective of the research project is to examine the simultaneous participation of Lower Saxon companies, research institutions and regions in funding programs of Lower Saxony, the Federal Government and the EU. The project focuses on questions about the intensity of and causes for the integration of these different knowledge networks. The identification and characteristics of organizations should be prioritized, which are embedded in multiple networks and thus act as gatekeepers. Secondly, it is investigated to what kind of knowledge organizations have access, who participate in a number of programs. This is accompanied by the analysis of potential complementarities between the funding programs. The results of the research project provide important hints on the effectiveness of publicly funded knowledge networks and form the basis for the derivation of policy recommendations (e.g. innovation and technology policy, regional policy).


  • Roesler, C., & Broekel, T. (2017): The role of universities in a network of subsidized R&D collaboration: The case of the biotechnology-industry in Germany. Review of Regional Research. DOI: 10.1007/s10037-017-0118-7
  • Broekel, T., & Mueller, W. (2017): Critical links in knowledge networks – What about proximities and gatekeeper organisations? Industry and Innovation. DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2017.1343130

Presentations to Scientific Audiences:

  • Müller, W.: Critical links in knowledge networks - What about proximities and gatekeeper organizations? 3rd Geography of Innovation Conference, 28.-30.01.2016. Toulouse, France.
  • Müller, W.: The characteristics of critical links in innovation networks. 2nd IWH-ENIC Workshop, 13.-14.11.2014, Halle (Saale)
  • Müller, W.: The proximity structures of critical links in knowledge networks. 16.-17.10.2014. Stavanger, Norway.
  • Müller, W.: The Proximity Structures of Critical Links in Knowledge Networks. Jahrestreffen des Arbeitskreis Industriegeographie, 09.-10.10.2014. Naurod-Niedernhausen.
  • Müller, W.: The influence of proximity dimensions on the edge betweenness centrality in subsidized knowledge networks in Germany. DRUID Academy Conference, 15 - 17. Januar 2014. Skørping, Denmark.