Pablo D’Este, Óscar Llopis, Maureen Mc Kelvey, Alfredo Yegros
This study contributes to advance understanding on the micro-level foundations of the relationship between scientific research and innovation. We adopt a relational approach to scientific research networks through the analysis of the content of network ties, in contrast to more standard network approaches which are grounded on structural features of networks. We argue that the perceived legitimacy afforded through ties within research networks play a critical role in reconciling the conflicting logics of science and innovation. The proposed hypotheses are empirically tested in the context of the Spanish biomedical research system, drawing on a large scale survey of biomedical scientists. Our results indicate that the scientists’ acquisition of legitimacy through their research network play a critical role in the context of the translation from scientific research to technological achievements and innovations. Our findings also show that past scientific impact has a reinforcing effect on the relationship between legitimacy acquisition and technological achievements. On the contrary, we find that direct interaction with beneficiaries provides an alternative path to reconcile the conflicting logics of science and market, by compensating for the lack of acquired legitimacy from research network.