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What makes scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs behave the ways that they do? In order to find out, Kevin Boudreau, associate professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, uses the scientific method to research researchers. Boudreau is part of a new generation of scientists studying this work, which can provide insights on ways to improve the future process of innovation and science.

Boudreau began his career as an engineer, facilitating experiments in microelectronics. When he moved into the social sciences, he continued to use his research skills. His recent work is featured in Science and focuses on unintentional bias in the peer review process and examines how scientists choose their collaborators. 

Some of this research has been challenging, but Boudreau always intends for the organization he is working on his research with to experience a positive impact.

“We generally leave our industry and governmental partners saving money, making new discoveries, and adding to their bottom line,” he said.

Boudreau is currently working on a range of other large-scale field studies with researchers from around the world. Some of these include a study to determine which types of researchers are more likely to collaborate with those outside of their field, and what may unexpectedly occur if a university attempts to encourage this type of collaboration.

“Here at Northeastern, we have this opportunity to rethink how social science, economics, and business get done,” Boudreau said. “Applying experiments in the field is an incredibly powerful way to do things.”

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