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The paper develops a formal model of coalition-building ("network" formation) among research units that seek competitive funding from a supra-regional program, while also drawing support from their respective regional funding agencies. This analysis is motivated by the absence of frameworks of analysis applicable to problems of design of public R&D funding arrangements in the European Union, and in other regional systems were independent programs of "federal and state" support for research co-exists. The model assumes a fixed finite population of research units and an associated distribution of reputed quality, or scientific reputation, which may be modified as a consequence of research results. Non-cooperative games of coalition formation developed by Bloch (1995), and Ray and Vohra (1999), provides a useful single-period framework for this part of the analysis. Collaborations are formed in the expectation of attracting incremental research funding, given the selection criteria of the agency that offers funding for "networks". Invitations to join proposals for networks are initiated and acted upon following a specific ordering procedure. This gives rise to a repeated non-cooperative game of coalition (or collaboration) formation, in which the distribution of payoffs within the collaboration is governed by a fixed rule. Following Keely (2002), this type of game is applied to a multi-period setting in which a distribution of coalitions is tracked, along with the levels of funding received. The latter are determined according to a rule comparing the distribution of reputations within proposed collaborations, and the effects upon the distribution of reputations in the entire population are analysed. Alternative possible external funding rules are evaluated with the help of a numerical example, to determine how their impacts upon collaboration formation, and the resulting evolution of the reputation distribution (as that will be affected by the allocation of funding).
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Keywords: Coalition formation games; Networks; R&D funding; Research collaborations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Stanford University and All Souls College, Oxford; and University of Wisconsin

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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