Tokamaks and turbulence: Research ensembles, policy and technoscientific work

Edward J. Hackett, David Conz, John Parker, Jonathon Bashford, Susan DeLay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A comparative analysis of two fusion energy research facilities is used to examine how the ensemble of research technologies (materials, methods, instruments, techniques, and the like) constructed and used by a group not only connects the group to other researchers and policymakers but also influences the group's trajectory, performance, and the work of its members. We use a combination of historical, interview, and questionnaire data to describe the two facilities, position them within the field, and examine the working conditions and job satisfaction of their members. We develop the idea of research ensemble, characterize it in comparison with related concepts, explain how it reflects policy priorities and provides a new way for research groups to accumulate advantage and disadvantage. Using multiple regression models, we demonstrate how differences in research ensembles lead to differences in working conditions and job satisfactions. Some implications are proposed for policy in fast-changing, large-scale fields of science and technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-767
Number of pages21
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Research groups
  • Research technologies
  • Science policy
  • Scientific collaboration
  • Work life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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