Scott Dempwolf’s Innovation Model to Drive Illinois’ Science & Technology Roadmap

Illinois network image, created by Dempwolf, was modeled using NodeXL.

The Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC) has tapped Assistant Research Professor Dr. Scott Dempwolf to develop an innovation network model that will be at the heart of the Illinois Science & Technology Roadmap, the first data-driven study of Illinois’ innovation ecosystem. The goal of the Roadmap is to create a shared understanding of Illinois’ position and potential in science and technology, and to leverage the state’s science and technology assets to accelerate innovation driven economic growth. The six-month, $44,686 contract will extend research from Dempwolf’s doctoral dissertation, completed in 2012 at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. 


In recent years, industry cluster analysis has been the dominant approach to understanding regional economic structure and performance, with various innovation indexes employed to determine innovation performance. However, these tools have significant limitations: they do not measure innovation directly and often miss more subtle innovation growth like new technologies and start-ups.


Dempwolf’s model offers something never before seen in technology cluster analyses, yet critical to understanding a cluster’s ability to develop, commercialize and adopt new technologies: it accurately pinpoints companies and individuals engaged in new technology and innovative activity and reveals the networks between them. With these key attributes driving the analysis, Dempwolf’s network model will mitigate critical weaknesses and provide an unprecedented view of Illinois’ industrial innovation ecosystem, as well as its emerging technology clusters, industries and firms. 


In practice, this new intelligence will allow the state to target economic and workforce development tools and resources with much greater precision. The resulting information will focus on industries and technologies that have innovations in the pipeline, and which are more likely to create new manufacturing jobs and economic growth over the next several years. With this network analysis tool, the Roadmap will allow economic developers to quickly identify and engage specific people, firms, institutions and agencies around specific technologies that possess the highest growth potential. This capacity will make Illinois companies, communities and institutions much more competitive as they work to attract new talent, businesses and investment in order to accelerate innovation driven growth.


Dempwolf is currently the director of the University of Maryland – Morgan State Joint Center for Economic Development, an EDA funded University Center, where they are utilizing this new technology in Maryland and beyond. The Illinois Science & Technology Roadmap is scheduled to be unveiled at the State Science & Technology Institute’s (SSTI) annual conference in Chicago, September 14-16, 2014. For more information on Dempwolf’s research and the work of the EDA University center, click here


Above: This image shows Illinois clusters and networks of startup firms (orange) and investors (green), along with the cities where they are located (blue). This is one of many sub-networks, created from different data sources, which will combine to drive the Roadmap. Data source: CrunchBase, retrieved January 2014.

Posted on May 6, 2014 by Maggie Haslam