SciTS 2013 Conference: Sessions

Opening Keynote Address: The Burden of Knowledge and Creative Collaboration:  Understanding the Increasing Value of Teamwork

Why do scientists increasingly work in teams?  Why are teams increasingly the source of high impact work?  This presentation will consider the historical trajectory of science and engineering and show that ensuing generations of innovators naturally face an increasing "burden of knowledge" as science advances and knowledge accumulates.   As the set of knowledge grows, individual expertise can take longer to develop and, by necessity, will cover an ever-narrowing fraction of what is known.  Commensurate with these mechanisms, this presentation will review widespread evidence that key innovations are shifting (i) later in the life cycle and (ii) from solo researchers toward teams.  Teamwork, which allows researchers to continue to attack broader problems, can also acts to draw together  novel combinations of prior knowledge and spark high-impact science.  Reviewing large sample analyses of scientific papers and patents, this presentation will present universal patterns linking teamwork, creativity, and impact, and discuss the over-arching "burden of knowledge" framework to help understand the trajectory and advantages of team science.

Monday, June 24, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
  • Brian Uzzi, PhD, Northwestern University (Keynote Chair)
  • Benjamin Jones, PhD, Northwestern University


Brian Uzzi
Brian Uzzi
Keynote Chair

Brian Uzzi, Ph.D. is the Richard L. Thomas Chair in Leadership at the Kellogg School of Management. He is also professor of sociology, and professor of industrial engineering and management science at Northwestern University, where is also the Co-Director of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems.

His award winning and highly cited research uses social network analysis and complexity theory to model creativity and innovation, contagion, and outstanding human achievement.

His research on team science focuses on the rise of teams in the productions of high impact science, the relationship between scientists networks and their creativity, and the role of on-line communities in creating and sustaining scientific collaboration.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones

Benjamin F. Jones is an Associate Professor at the Kellogg School of Management and the faculty director of the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative.  An economist by training, his research focuses largely on innovation and creativity, with recent work investigating the role of teamwork in innovation and the relationship between age and invention.  Professor Jones also studies global economic development, including the role of education in explaining the wealth and poverty of nations.  His research has appeared in journals such as Science and the Quarterly Journal of Economics and has been profiled in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and The New Yorker.

A former Rhodes Scholar, Professor Jones served in 2010-2011 as the senior economist for macroeconomics for the White House Council of Economic Advisers and earlier served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In 2011, he was awarded the Stanley Reiter Best Paper Award for the best academic article written by a Kellogg faculty member in the prior four years.