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“Research Organizations and Major Discoveries in Twentieth Century Science” A Case Study of Excellence in Biomedical Research by J.Rogers Hollingsworth.

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Presentation on theme: "“Research Organizations and Major Discoveries in Twentieth Century Science” A Case Study of Excellence in Biomedical Research by J.Rogers Hollingsworth."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Research Organizations and Major Discoveries in Twentieth Century Science” A Case Study of Excellence in Biomedical Research by J.Rogers Hollingsworth F. V ENDAS, P. L OPES Instituto Superior Técnico – November 7 th, 2003

2 Friday, 07 November 2003 Main Issues from the Reference Paper  How do the structure and culture of organizations facilitate or hamper regular achievement of major discoveries?  How does the institutional environment in which actors are embedded constrain their behaviour?  Why do research organizations vary in their capacities to make major discoveries in biomedical science?  How organizations can respond to changes in knowledge by increasing diversity and depth without growing in size?

3 Friday, 07 November 2003 The concept “Major Discoveries"  Historical definition: “A major discovery might have been a radical or new idea, the development of a new methodology, a new instrument or invention, or a new set of ideas.”  Author definition: “Major discoveries are types of knowledge absorbed by scientists across a number of different specialties, and major breakthroughs have tended to reflect a high degree of scientific diversity, as distinct from being highly specialized and narrow research.”  The Major breakthrough Concept: “A major discovery as a finding or process, generally preceded by numerous "small" advances, which solved a particular problem and in turn led "to a number of smaller advances, based on the newly discovered principle.”

4 Friday, 07 November 2003 Structural Concepts  The analysis of research organizations and labs and/or departments, in this paper, revolves around seven basic concepts. They are:  Diversity of fields of knowledge ;  Depth of knowledge ;  Differentiation of the organization ;  Hierarchical and bureaucratic coordination ;  Interdisciplinary and integrated activities ;  Leadership ;  Quality of the scientists.

5 Friday, 07 November 2003 Key Organizational Characteristics  Were identified the following organizational characteristics as most important in facilitating the making of major discoveries:  Organizational autonomy;  Organizational flexibility ;  Moderate scientific diversity ;  Communication and social integration ;  Leadership ;  Recruitment.

6 Friday, 07 November 2003 Key Constrains  The research has revealed that the following organizational properties have hampered the making of major discoveries :  Differentiation;  Hierarchical authority and bureaucratic coordination;  Hyper diversity.

7 Friday, 07 November 2003 The Effect of Degree of Communication and Cognitive Distance

8 Friday, 07 November 2003 Selected Case Study “Highly integrated, small research institute”  American research organization which have had major discoveries in bio-medical science:  Rockefeller Institute/University; Other Example:  California Institute of Technology; “… high degree of interdisciplinary and integrated activity across diverse fields of science …” Dr. Rogers Hollingsworth (2001)

9 Friday, 07 November 2003 The Rockefeller Institute Present Facts and Figures  Rockefeller University Community  75 heads of laboratories;  185 research and clinical scientists;  340 postdoctoral investigators;  1,000 support staff;  140 Ph.D. students;  35 M.D.-Ph.D. students;  860 alumni;  Areas of basic interdisciplinary research  Biochemistry, structural biology and chemistry;  Molecular, cell and developmental biology;  Immunology, virology and microbiology;  Medical sciences and human genetics;  Neuroscience;  Physics and mathematical biology;

10 Friday, 07 November 2003 The Rockefeller Institute  A research institution such as Rockefeller had several distinct advantages over most teaching institutions. Most teaching organizations attempt to present an entire field of knowledge, and they often recruit people not because of their research excellence but to cover a particular field of knowledge.  Rockefeller University is still one of the world’s premier biomedical research organizations and is still receiving more recognition for major discoveries in biomedical science than any other organization.

11 Friday, 07 November 2003 Enhancing Scientific Integration  How can organizations respond to changes in knowledge by increasing diversity and depth without growing in size:  Leadership with a determination to limit growth while adding high quality scientists who represent scientific diversity and new ways of thinking,  Maintaining a single program or department in the biological sciences that places heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary/integrated culture,  Creating a small interdisciplinary research institute within a highly differentiated organization.

12 Friday, 07 November 2003 Conclusions  Organizations with major discoveries recurring again and again have tended to be those in which there is a high degree of interaction among scientists across diverse fields of science.  Science is very dynamic, and if research organizations are to adapt to the changes in the world of science, they must have a structure which is highly flexible.

13 Friday, 07 November 2003 Conclusions  Research organizations where a number of major discoveries have occurred have had a distinctive style of leadership, that is leaders who have had:  A strategic vision for integrating diverse areas,  Ability to facilitate the obtaining of funding,  Ability to recruit personnel across diverse fields of knowledge,  Ability to facilitate the provision of rigorous criticism of science within a nurturing environment.

14 Friday, 07 November 2003 Conclusions  Increases in scientific diversity and depth, if not properly managed, can ultimately limit the capacity of a research organization to make major discoveries.  Increase in the number of disciplines and expand their depth in each one. Organisations differentiated and less integrated.

15 Friday, 07 November 2003 Portuguese Example Private Sector STAB SGPS - Diversity in HR - Diversity in disciplines - Annual Growth >60% - Proprietary technology (10P) - Excellent high-skilled teams Artificial Neural Networks ; Biomedice ; Environmental Appl; Financial Applications; Labs – R&D; BioInformatics ; Food diagnosis; Portuguese Case (Start-up company) BioEconomy - The Future

16 Friday, 07 November 2003 Another Portuguese Example Public Sector

17 Discussion Questions  Should Inst./Org. follow the autonomy policy?  How can be promoted the multidiscipline reasearch?  How can be provided highly qualify, motivated, and flexible research personnel ?  Are our Inst./Org. easily adaptable to changes?  Are the general procedures complexes and bureaucratics?  Should the Inst./Org. construct a partnership between the private and public sector for the excellency centers?

18 Friday, 07 November 2003 Bibliography  “Research Organizations and Major Discoveries in 20 th Century Science : A Case Study in Biomedical Research.” Hollingsworth, R. (2001).  "Major Discoveries and Biomedical Research Organizations: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity, Nurturing Leadership, and Integrated Structure and Cultures" Hollingsworth, R. (2000).  “O Carácter Multidisciplinar das Empresas do Grupo STAB.” Flores, O. (2003).  Fundação para Ciência e a Tecnologia – Laboratórios do Estado  Fundação para Ciência e a Tecnologia – Laboratórios do Estado - Instituto de Genética Médica Jacinto Magalhães.


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