Making new discoveries in 2017

12 Jan 2017

Calls for new research projects in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship are made twice a year by the Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (DIIE). So what will our faculty be working on in 2017? Here are six research projects to watch out for this year.


1. How can a female scientist’s approach and style affect her patenting research? 

Why do women scientists produce fewer patents than their male counterparts? Michaël Bikard, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, hypothesise that differences in ‘scientific style may provide answers. The work involves taking a unique dataset of ‘paper twins’ in which female and male scientists independently publish essentially the same discovery. Yet the scientific approach used to report these discoveries may be correlated with each scientist’s patenting activity. Might it be true that women are more conservative and perhaps less assertive in their scientific claims? If so, could this be linked to their well-documented lower involvement in commercial scientific activities? Moreover, what can be done about it?  

2. How to up the value of knowledge-sharing platforms

There is no doubt that peer feedback is valuable to entrepreneurs: it can help shape or kill early-stage ideas. But why do people voluntarily contribute such knowledge in the first place: for rewards or respect? Bryan Stroube, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and Robert Vesco at the University of Maryland explore why members of an online technology community provide free feedback to their innovative peers. They study a popular online community of technology entrepreneurs to simulate two worlds – one that is dominated by pragmatists (seeking rewards), the other by egotists (seeking respect). Can understanding the motivations behind why these individuals are willing to share their wisdom help to improve entrepreneurial ecosystems?

3. Do healthcare cutbacks create a downward spiral?

Is it true that financially stronger hospitals enter into a virtuous circle by providing a better service to their patients and thereby positively impacting their finances? Nicos Savva, Associate Professor of Management Science and Operations, and PhD student Christopher Chen examine how financial health affects patients’ length-of-stay, staffing levels, medical inventory, avoidable errors, readmissions and mortality rates. Do the decisions made by managers and physicians of financially healthier hospitals differ from their weaker counterparts? The research aims to highlight how hospitals respond to financial pressure and to provide insight for policymakers. Read more on Dr Savva’s work in the healthcare innovation arena  

4. Can historic events reveal insight on fostering innovative environments?

What if the past could help us peer into the future? Freek Vermeulen, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and Xu Li at ESMT Berlin travel back to the 1940s in order to characterise innovative environments. Dr Vermeulen theorises that we can learn from ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ firms that were encouraged to experiment with chemical drugs during the Second World War and the War of Independence. He combines current data from 922 firms with new province-level data on economic development and soldier casualties. What can this disruptive move on a national scale teach leaders about fostering innovation?

5. The future of the banking industry under the current regulatory regime

What actions do incumbents in the banking sector need to take to ensure continued growth in an era of technological disruption? Narayan Naik, Professor of Finance, examines the industry’s business model, including a new generation of challenger banks and start-up players who face lighter regulations, and assesses the impact of the new technological revolution. How can the banking industry anticipate and prepare for the future in terms of financial stability and serving the real economy? What are the challenges posed by the technological revolution – including big data, blockchain, cryptocurrency and developments in the fintech industry (lending, robot advisors, global money transfers) – and how should the financial industry respond? 

6. Intellectual property rights and medical research: what’s the link?

What are some of the obstacles to eliminating deadly diseases? Keyvan Vakili, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, explores the link between intellectual property rights and the increased number of studies into neglected diseases in low-income countries. All World Trade Organization members signed up to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement in the mid-1990s – a global standard for protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights (IPR). Prior to TRIPS around 40 countries didn’t grant patents for pharmaceuticals. Implementation of TRIPS was expected to increase investment in tackling neglected diseases in low-income countries, but Vakili’s research suggests a different story: because the basic science on these afflictions is lacking, maybe it’s too early to expect clinical trials for neglected diseases. Instead of searching for evidence of the TRIPS effect on clinical trials, Vakili looks at its effect on scientific research. 

  • Discover more about the impact on of IPR on knowledge transfer, the institutions required for scientific knowledge-share and the barriers to eradicating neglected diseases