Multilayer Network Analysis of Innovation Intermediaries’ Activities

Russo M., Caloffi A., Righi R., Righi S., Rossi F. (2020) ‘Multilayer Network Analysis of Innovation Intermediaries’ Activities’, in Ragozini, G. and Vitale, M. P. (eds) Challenges in Social Network Research: Methods and Applications. Cham: Springer International Publishing (Lecture Notes in Social Networks), Springer, Cham: 193–208. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-31463-7_12.

Policymakers wishing to enhance innovation processes in small and medium-sized enterprises increasingly channel their interventions through innovation intermediaries. However, limited empirical research exists regarding the activities and performance of intermediaries, with most contributions taking a qualitative approach and focusing on the role of intermediaries as brokers. In this paper, we analyse the extent to which innovation intermediaries, through their engagement in different activities, support the creation of communities of other agents. We use multilayer network analysis techniques to simultaneously represent the many types of interactions promoted by intermediaries. Furthermore, by originally applying the Infomap algorithm to our multilayer network, we assess the contribution of the agents involved in different activities promoted by intermediaries, and we identify the emerging multilayer communities and the intercohesive agents that span across several communities. Our analysis highlights the potential and the critical features of multilayer analysis for policy design and evaluation.


Multilayer and multiplex networks; Overlapping communities; Regional innovation policy; Innovation intermediaries; Regional innovation system 

The Authors are members of CAPP-Centro di Analisi delle Politiche Pubbliche, Departiment of Economics, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, and their affiliations are:
Margherita Russo, Department of Economics, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
Annalisa Caloffi, Department of Economics and Management, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Riccardo Righu, European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Seville, Spain
Simone Righi, Department of Computer Science University College London, London UK, and “Lendület” Research Center for Education and Network Studies (RECENS), Hungarian Academy of Sciences,Budapest, Hungary
Federica Rossi, Birkbeck University of London, London, UK