Star Scientists and the Development of Regions: Results of a Survey of Highly-Cited Researchers

Bernhard Kurka, Gunther Maier

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWorking Paper/Preprint


It is widely believed that knowledge and human capital are crucial in spurring regional as well as organizational growth and development. With increasing international mobility in today’s globalized world the knowledge embodied in highly qualified people is easily transferred across borders. Countries and Regions are desperate in competing for the world’s top brains. In this paper we focus on top scientists and research professionals as a specific group of highly skilled labor. We try to shed some light on the regional economic engagement of such “Star Scientists”: What is their potential contribution to growth and development of regions and what are the respective determinants? Based on a sample of 414 highly recognized Star Scientists drawn from the online database ISI Highly Cited we have found that Star Scientists generally show a low degree of Regional Economic Involvement (REI) irrespective of whether they are (or were) internationally mobile or not. However, Non-movers have a slightly higher REI than their mobile colleagues (Expatriates and Returnees). Non-movers significantly do more joint R&D projects with regional firms and significantly sell more patents and licenses to regional firms than Returnees. The level of REI of a Star Scientist is strongly determined by his or her attitude towards economic engagement in the region as well as the degree of applied research (non-fundamental) within his or her overall research agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

SeriesDYNREG Working Paper, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Dublin

    Maier, G. (PI - Project head), Kurka, B. (Researcher), Reiner, C. (Researcher) & Trippl, M. (Researcher)

    1/01/06 → …

    Project: Research funding

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