Adrian A Díaz-Faes, Oscar Llopis, Pablo D'Este
Translational research policies have increased the expectations about accelerating healthcare improvements and medical innovations. Although such policies aim to reshape how biomedical scientists organize, conceive, and conduct science, most of the analysis and evaluations of these initiatives focus on measuring the outputs generated at different stages of the research process rather than directly observing scientists’ research practices. In this paper, we seek to understand collaborative practices in the context of translational research by examining the network configurations established by biomedical scientists to advance their research. We adopt an ego-network perspective and draw on three network attributes - network diversity, tie strength and tie content - to understand how scientists mobilize tangible and intangible resources through their interpersonal connections and enable the translation of scientific knowledge into practical applications. Our analysis is based on a large-scale survey conducted in the context of a flagship initiative that aims to support translational research in Spain: the CIBER program. Our cluster analysis identifies diverse scientists’ profiles: downstream-oriented, upstream-oriented, and brokering scientists. We propose that using a network lens provides valuable insights on how policy interventions operate in practice.