Measuring Tech Emergence Contest

This Contest challenges you to devise a repeatable procedure to identify emerging R&D topics within a target science and technology domain (e.g., “synthetic biology”). The data resource to be mined is an R&D publication dataset on a designated science or technology domain, drawn from Web of Science (WoS). The test: who best predicts topics that are notably active in the following two years of research?

As a baseline, we share our text analytics process to identify emerging research topics within a science and technology domain (see Resources below). We extract terms from titles & abstracts and filter them based on 1) novelty, 2) persistence, 3) a research community, and, especially, 4) rapid growth in research activity. Can you devise a better way? You might treat words and phrases differently, or exploit other data attributes like author social networks, breakout citation patterns, and/or funding trends – it’s up to you!

Identifying R&D topics that will be heavily emphasized in the coming two years is the focus. Such a capability offers tremendous value to R&D researchers, managers, and policy-makers.

Who may enter? Anyone may enter; we especially encourage student and/or academic research groups.

Contest prize? Winner will receive up to $1,500 in travel support as well as complimentary registration to receive award at the 9th Global TechMining Conference to be held October 10, 2019, in Atlanta, GA. Second prize will also receive complimentary conference registration to receive award.

Key dates:
a. October 2018 – REGISTRATION OPENS. The registration form requests a ½ page abstract of your initial ideas, as well as an agreement for contest terms and conditions.
b. January 2019 – PRACTICE DATASETS – Three practice WoS datasets will be provided (free). Each will contain WoS search results on a given domain (e.g., ~10,000 abstract records on synthetic biology).
c. April 2019 – CONTEST. We will provide the contest dataset, requiring you to send back your list of emerging topics in ~10 days, with a brief description of your algorithm and process, to be shared openly. Submissions will be evaluated on their ability to predict topical research activity in the subsequent 2 years. Recall & precision dimensions will be weighed;
d. OCTOBER 2019 – AWARD. The winner and second prize will be awarded at the 2019 Global Tech Mining (GTM) Conference in Atlanta [], Oct. 11, 2019.


  1. U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) Program on Foresight and Understanding from Scientific Exposition (FUSE)
  2. Rotolo, D. D., Hicks, D., and Martin, B.R. (2015). What is an emerging technology? Research Policy 44, 1827-1834
  3. Carley, S.F., Newman, N.C., Porter, A.L., and Garner, J. (2018). An Indicator of Technical Emergence, Scientometrics, 115 (1), 35-49;
  4. Porter, A.L., Garner, J., Carley, S.F., and Newman, N.C. (to appear). Emergence scoring to Identify Frontier R&D Topics and Key Players , Technological Forecasting and Social Change. This work is supported by the US National Science Foundation (Award #1759960 – “Indicators of Technological Emergence”). The findings and observations contained herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
  5. STI 2018 Conference “Measuring Tech Emergence Contest Poster”