Stephen Borgatti's Social Network Research Featured in RCTF Annual Report

Posted: April 06, 2016

Recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty is an integral part of the mission of the University of Kentucky's Research Challenge Trust Fund, and each year the university highlights four outstanding endowed chairs and professors. This year's annual report, approved by the UK Board of Trustees Feb. 19, featured Stephen P. Borgatti, Chellgren Chair in Corporate Strategy.

Borgatti is a professor in the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics and his expertise is in social network analysis — the study of how people are connected to each other.

“Networks, particularly in organizations, are how things get done,” says Borgatti, who has been at UK since 2007.

He studies centrality, in particular the idea that some positions within a network are more advantageous than others.

"One way in which you could be central is that you're not far from everybody else in the network," he said. "People like that tend to hear things faster. So, if information is flowing through the network, they hear it early when they can take advantage of it. At the same time, it depends on the context. If it’s a contagious disease, then the person that’s very central is going to get it early and maybe before there’s any kind of treatment available."

Borgatti earned his doctorate in mathematical social science at the University of California, Irvine and has authored more than 130 articles. His work has been cited 30,000 times by other scholars. Borgatti has been a senior editor at Organization Science, and is currently associate editor at the Journal of Supply Chain Management, as well as Computational and Mathematical Organizational Theory.

At UK, he is a member of the LINKS Center for Social Network Analysis. The center conducts annual workshops on social network analysis.

“We have trained now over a thousand people, which I think has a significant impact because most of them are management people," he said. "And we do that with a staff of 28 instructors and assistants, and the only way to field that many people is to have all of our graduate students and all of our faculty focused on the same thing. UK is an ideal place to do what I’m doing."

Over the last 14 years, the "Bucks for Brains" partnership between UK's Research Challenge Trust Fund and the Commonwealth of Kentucky has been a key component in supporting the innovations made by our faculty, staff and students. Since its inception, Kentucky has pledged more than $230 million in state funds to UK, which the university matched — dollar for dollar — with private funds to support the research enterprise. UK has used these funds as part of the effort to build the university’s endowment from $420.8 million in 2001 to more than $1 billion in 2015 and to create more than 300 endowed chairs and professorships across all colleges and professional schools.

For more on the Research Challenge Trust Fund visit http://www.research.uky.edu/faculty/rctf.