RT4. Big Data for Assessing Innovation Processes and Research and Innovation Policy.

Decision-making for allocating R&I resources is informed by data, often well-structured to create information, and less frequently well analyzed to result in knowledge. The harvesting of more data from multiple and quite diverse sources, popularly known nowadays as big or large data, has created immense expectations of opportunities and has opened major debates. Undeniably the availability of large amounts of diverse data and of data processing capabilities through modern techniques such as machine learning have opened a vast amount of possibilities. Big data use opens new doors to understanding complexity. Big data provide real time information.

Such data also offer rare opportunities to study R&I policy and strategy in new ways. Events like the “Transforming Research” conference – focusing on how data and evidence are transforming research policy and strategy” – are mushrooming (http://www.transformingresearch.org).

Still, challenges are aplenty. For our purposes the most obvious is how best to interrogate and meaningfully manage diverse kinds of data to support improved decision-making at both the public and private sectors. The databases continuously storing data will become larger and larger over time and applying big data analytical approaches will be inevitable (Sivarajah et al., 2017). Big data are supposed to offer greater statistical power and higher false discovery rate. The introduction of big data in science has been the outcome of the intensification of digital means in research and of the massive use of mathematics and statistics by natural scientists to understand important aspects of the real world.

RT4 is our “infrastructural” Research Trajectory. It is an experimental effort to combine the analytical capabilities of a stellar group of computer scientists from USP with large dataset expertise with the deep and diverse expertise of our group in matters of R&I policy and strategy to advance the analytical state-of-the-art in this field.

Research Trajectories

InSySPo Research Trajectories