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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mapping interorganisational collaboration within biomedicine : collaboration in infection and immunity research Lander, Bryn


Background: Collaborations between and within sectors facilitate research and development by transferring knowledge among individuals; but it is often unclear who is involved, with whom they are collaborating, and why they are collaborating. I studied the collaborations of Vancouver-based infection and immunity researchers both with local and non-local collaborators, combining innovation systems with economic geography, neo-institutional theory, Bourdieu’s concept of fields, and a social network perspective. My objectives were to determine how different types of proximity affect collaboration, investigate what motivates collaboration, and to explore how institutions affect collaboration. Methods: I used a mixed methods approach that drew on infection and immunity co-authorships, interviews with infection and immunity researchers, and policy documents. I quantitatively analysed co-authorship trends to explore the impact of institutional and geographic proximity on global co-authorship patterns of Vancouver-based infection and immunity researchers through sociograms, proximity variables, and a quasi-Poisson random effects regression. I investigated collaboration rates between and within sectors through relational contingency table and ANOVA network analysis. I mapped the major organisations and regulative institutions involved in Vancouver’s local infection and immunity network by combining interviews, policy documents, and co-authorship data. Based on interviews, I examined how sectoral and organisational institutions and capital influenced action. Results: I found that Vancouver’s infection and immunity network was dominated by the non-commercial sector, particularly universities. The private sector presence was weak. Geographic and institutional proximity increased the proclivity to co-author papers. Hospitals and universities co-authored more papers together than statistically expected. Vancouver-based infection and immunity researchers collaborated to gain capital to further goals, a process shaped by institutions. Conclusion: This study has important implications for science and innovation theory as well as science policy. For both, my primary contribution is to further the understanding that interactions between non-commercial actors play in knowledge translation and innovation, a role that is often underemphasized in both theory and policy.

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