Understanding collaboration patterns on funded research projects: A network analysis

Matthew Smith*, Yasaman Sarabi, Dimitris Christopoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


This paper provides an examination of inter-organizational collaboration in the UK research system. Data are collected on organizational collaboration on projects funded by four key UK research councils: Arts and Humanities Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The organizational partnerships include both academic and nonacademic institutions. A collaboration network is created for each research council, and an exponential random graph model is applied to inform on the mechanisms underpinning collaborative tie formation on research council-funded projects. We find that in the sciences, collaborative patterns are much more hierarchical and concentrated in a small handful of actors compared to the social sciences and humanities projects. Institutions that are members of the elite Russell Group (a set of 24 high-ranking UK universities) are much more likely to be involved in collaborations across research councils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-173
Number of pages31
JournalNetwork Science
Issue numberSpecial Issue 1
Early online date23 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • ERGM
  • UK
  • collaboration
  • knowledge exchange
  • research council

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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