Improving the innovation ability of engineering students: a Science and Technology Innovation Community organisation network analysis

Jingxiao Zhang*, Rui Li, Hui Li, Martin Skitmore, Pablo Ballesteros-Pérez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Science and Technology Innovation Communities (STICs) are student-led partnerships that bring together businesses, research centres, and university staff. They constitute an effective way of promoting student innovation ability. However, the students’ position within the STICs organisation network may condition how their innovation ability is effectively acquired. Using Social Network Analysis (SNA), this study measures how the STICs organisation network promotes the innovation ability of its actors. The paper finds that network centrality and structural holes of the STICs organisation network are positively correlated with student innovation ability. The results are validated through robustness tests in three different STICs, involving engineering students from China’s Chang’an University. Semi-structured interviews are also conducted with 20 relevant actors of STICs. The conclusion suggests that a higher involvement of core actors, more support from schools, and more restrictive entry requirements are necessary to improve the organisation management and training level of engineering students in STICs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-865
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Volume46
Issue number4
Early online date4 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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