New center aims to improve pursuit of scientific discovery through advanced analytics, artificial intelligence

A new center dedicated to understanding the conditions that lead to scientific success launches today at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

The Center for the Science of Science and Innovation (CSSI) will utilize advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to unearth patterns underlying scientific discovery. The goal is to find the keys to creating lasting societal impact through science.

“Improving our scientific process requires that we first understand the patterns that drive it.””

Dashun Wang

Kellogg School of Management

CSSI, which is supported by a 2018 Minerva Grant from the Department of Defense, could profoundly impact the way science is funded, scientists are cultivated and excellence is rewarded.

“Improving our scientific process requires that we first understand the patterns that drive it,” said Dashun Wang, associate professor of management and organizations at Kellogg and the leader of CSSI. “Research conducted at the Center will surface best practices, biases and behaviors that govern the way we pursue discovery and innovation, ultimately empowering us to create new knowledge more effectively.”

It will be the first academic hub of its kind to unite experts across disciplines to identify and predict patterns in careers, teams, knowledge production, machine partnerships and more. Research conducted at CSSI will attempt to answer questions such as, “Why are some collaborations fruitful while others fail?” and “What determines which ideas are canonized and which are forgotten?”

“I truly believe we are living in an exciting era where big data permeates every corner of society and is increasingly essential for human decision-making,” Wang said. “This emerging, multidisciplinary field leverages new large-scale datasets, capturing broad aspects of the scientific enterprise, and uses data science and artificial intelligence to make sense of this data.”

Research impact

Examples of research already conducted by faculty affiliated with CSSI

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