Current Projects

NSF“The Social Organization of Collaboration in the Chemical Sciences.”
Collaborative PI: Prof. Jennifer Croissant, University of Arizona
Postdoctoral Research Associate: Dr. Itai Vardi, Boston University
Graduate Research Assistants: Ms. Claire Duggan, Boston University; Ms. Angela Stoutenburgh, University of Arizona

Science is an increasingly collaborative venture. To understand important issues in science policy and knowledge production, one must understand collaboration. Investigating what collaboration looks like on the ground (i.e., what scientists view as worth pursuing and how they manage collaboration) is important. The contributions of this project are expected to include building basic social science knowledge about collaboration, with a particular emphasis on the involvement of women and men in research collaboration and how scientists think about responsibilities in collaboration.

Scientists in academic and industry settings are participating in this research. The investigators attend regular research group meetings (for about 12 months) in the chemical scientists’ organization, and unobtrusively take notes on observations of collaboration in process. Members of the groups being observed are asked to give the investigators a 45 minute individual interview, scheduled at their convenience. The collected data are used in a strictly anonymous form: neither the individual participants’ identity, nor the identity of their organization will be revealed in reports and publications. Please feel free to contact the PIs with any questions or comments.


NSF"Women in Science Policy" (WiSP)

Collaborators: Prof. Kaye Husbands Fealing, University of Minnesota; Prof. Susan Cozzens, Georgia Institute of Technology; Prof. Jennifer Kuzma, University of Minnesota; Dr. Debra Fitzpatrick, University of Minnesota. Graduate Research Assistant: Mr. Connor Fitzmaurice, Boston University.

The work of science and technology (S&T) policymaking agencies in the United States is important to building knowledge and economic growth. These agencies make decisions about how to structure policies and programs for funding science and technology development, how to promote technology transfer and innovation, and how to use scientific and technical methods in federal regulation and oversight.  This project investigates the organization and leadership of federal science and technology policy agencies, and in particular examines the role of women in science and technology policy. Research across the social sciences has investigated the advantages of including diverse perspectives in decision-making, including the perspectives of men and women leaders. While there is much research on women in science and women in management or government, there is little previous research on the role of women leaders in science and technology policy.  This project explores new ground by collecting data on the role of women leaders in science and technology policy.  The project contributes by providing both qualitative and quantitative measures of women’s participation and influence on science and technology policy at the federal level.  Data collection focuses on leadership in S&T policymaking agencies from 1992-2008. The research informs understanding of organizational processes from theories at the intersection of multiple social science disciplines and areas: science/technology studies, sociology, political science, public policy, management and economics. For example, whether variation in the organizational structures of S&T agencies shapes women’s participation in science and technology policy is a question of wide intellectual interest.  To science policy studies, this work contributes important insight on how leaders at the agencies that fund science view their role in knowledge production processes.

Research funding is the lifeblood of science and engineering. The health of federal S&T policymaking agencies in the US is vital to the nation’s continued competitiveness in generating the scientific knowledge and technological development that supports a healthy economy built on innovation.  This project contributes to our understanding of that vital role of S&T policymaking agencies by investigating the organization and leadership of federal level S&T policymaking agencies in the US.  Understanding how women leaders have contributed to the S&T policy agenda, how variation in the participation of women in different agencies has produced different outcomes, and what the anatomy of a healthy S&T policy sector looks like are important outcomes expected in this project.  This project will generate knowledge that is expected to have practical implications for improving policy organization structures and practices.