Project collaborations dynamics

lundi 1er mars 2010, par Marc Barbier, Philippe Breucker, Thomas Tari

Characterising Dynamics in New Sciences through Project Collaborations

Thomas Tari & Marc Barbier 

You can find the Project Collaborations Dynamics Animation below.

The following hypothesis has to be considered as a relevant heuristic to tackle with the complexity of motives and conditions of project collaborations : research entities (such as laboratory, research unit, department or even board of research institute or university) are developing strategic collaborations through projects in order to frame a loosely coupled organisational form (with social, cognitive and technical interests) with the view to foster their own development, independently of the policy of programmes.

Unlike publications and patents (as used in scientometrics), projects have a beginning, but also an end and therefore duration : understanding research temporal dynamics through projects is a particularly well-fitted method. Taking a set of projects as a population of reciprocal collaborations evolving through time offers then a way to look at science dynamics from this point of view. Moreover, when these dynamics correspond to the affirmation of the emergence of a new science or to the existence of technological promises, the characterisation of project collaborations in this context – and possibly their effects on science production – is becoming a good matter of enquiry.

We used SoNIA, the Social Network Image Animator (, Bender-deMoll & McFarland 2006 ; Moody et al. 2005) to visualise our data and study the patterns in project collaborations, all programmes aggregated, through years. Colours stand for thematic axes, according to an ANR typology evolving continuously that we stabilised and adapted for a coherent trans-programmes investigation.

Networks of projects collaborations and thematic axes repartition in bioenergy research in France (1994-2008), visualisation from SoNIA software. (please play fullscreen - click to pause/start)

Nodes represent laboratories or research units in corporations

Links represent project collaborations between two labs at a given time

  • green : resource-based project
  • yellow : engine and fuel combustion project
  • pink  : socio-economical and environmental project
  • red : thermochemistry project
  • blue : biochemistry project


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