Emanuele Pugliese, Giulio Cimini, Aurelio Patelli, Andrea Zaccaria, Luciano Pietronero, Andrea Gabrielli
We show that the space in which scientific, technological and economic developments interplay with each other can be mathematically shaped using pioneering multilayer network and complexity techniques. We build the tri-layered network of human activities (scientific production, patenting, and industrial production) and study the interactions among them, also taking into account the possible time delays. Within this construction we can identify which capabilities and prerequisites are needed to be competitive in a given activity, and even measure how much time is needed to transform, for instance, the technological know-how into economic wealth and scientific innovation, being able to make predictions with a very long time horizon. Quite unexpectedly, we find empirical evidence that the naive knowledge flow from science, to patents, to products is not supported by data, being instead technology the best predictor for industrial and scientific production for the next decades.