Université de Strasbourg

C-4 in Chemistry

C-4: Co-opetition and Core Creativity in Chemistry

USIAS Fellows: Isabelle Billard and Thierry Burger-Helmchen
Post-doc: Ylenia Curci

This multi-disciplinary project (chemistry, economics and management) aims at studying and improving management of scientific activities of publicly founded labs. Results could be of interest to other labs at the University of Strasbourg. This method should i) not limit researchers’ creativity ii) take into account financial constraints and see them as a source of opportunity, iii) take into account other international research institutions and consider them as partners and competitors (co-opetition).
First, how to solve the paradox of the necessity of being creative in domains where in general you should not be? In chemistry, being creative can be dangerous. It is better not to be creative when you want to shoot people on the moon, would Gene Kranz say. But, for science to progress there must be creativity.
Second, how to manage the dilemma of world-wide diffusion of knowledge while losing the distinguishing competence resulting from this knowledge possession? To loosen financial constraints, parts of experimentation are externalized to other teams. But laboratories who follow that path withhold a core asset, i.e. a distinguishing competence (capability for molecular synthesis, data analysis and modeling, network activation…)
Third, how to share and integrate, not only results obtained through a strict research protocol, but also new ideas issuing from geographically distant partners working on distinctive elements? This question of integration of multi-level creativity (theoretically and practically) is not studied in literature. Could it be a specific capacity, core capacity, allowing some labs to exist and thrive despite diminishing fundings?

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