My project was to investigate the flow of patent activities across industries, as well as how financial agents (e.g., mutual funds, venture capitalists) facilitate such cross-industry connections. Patenting has grown rapidly in recent years. While an industry may have pioneered a technology, the technology can be transferred into other sectors. To many’s surprise, financial agents have played a much more significant role than raising money for companies that innovate. As these agents become involved in corporate decision making and management, they help enable technological learning and transfer across industries.
Through my research experience, I learned to visualize how “technologically connected” industries by plotting network graphs. To do so, I became familiar with data-visualization software like RStudio and Gephi. In addition, I got to collect financial data of mutual funds using MorningStar. I also learned to compile and filter data using another software called Stata. From the readings and chats with my professor and the assisting graduate student, I became fascinated with this research topic, and hope to continue studying it after PURM. Aside from the technical takeaways, I had a great rapport with my other research partner, the assisting graduate student, and the professor. I really appreciated how down-to-earth and approachable my mentors are, as I even got to weigh in on what we could further research into after reading existing papers.
This project has greatly enriched my educational experience at Penn. I gained a lot of data analytics skills, studied the real world using economics, and had a glimpse into academia!