For the second edition of the FRCCS conference (French Regional Conference On Complex Systems), to be held at the Institut des Systèmes Complexes in Paris from 20 to 22 June 2022, we have been invited to present our recent work on the logics of spatial location of research activities.

The conference discussed the different determinants that can explain the location of research activities by taking into account the different types of institutions (academies, universities, large facilities, etc.), their functions, and their creation waves. The second part of the presentation focused on the link between city size and scientific productivity by considering two size variables: the size of the city as it can be approximated with urban population data, and the scientific size of the city as it can be approximated with research personnel data. We show that there is no critical mass effect on scientific productivity in the sense that the volume of production of a city is proportional to the number of scientists attached to it (and does not depend on the city size as measured by the urban population density). Finally, we discuss the differences by discipline, showing that they vary from one national research system to another due to institutional specificities. We suggest ways of studying these differences in more detail.

The slide show of this presentation translated in english can be explored below: