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CIRCLE is an interdisciplinary center for innovation research. It spans several faculties at Lund University and is located at the Department of Design Sciences.

Our aim is to understand and explain how innovation can contribute to a good society and tackle societal challenges such as economic crises, climate change or the increased globalization of economic activities. This requires advanced insights into how knowledge is created and diffused in organizations, networks, regions, countries, and globally; how knowledge is turned into innovations;  and the societal conditions that promote the creation and diffusion of innovation.

Research at CIRCLE is currently organized in five interconnected thematic areas:

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Globalization of Innovation
  • Innovation and Sustainability
  • Innovations Skills, Strategies and Industry Renewal
  • Innovation Systems and Policy

Each platform hosts different research projects and most researchers at CIRCLE are involved in several platforms.

The educational program at CIRCLE is conducted in close cooperation with several faculties at Lund University.

Design Sciences is a department in the Faculty of Engineering. With the global goals of sustainable development in mind, the Department strives to meet across subject borders and work on challenges collectively and interdisciplinarily. You can find out more about Design Sciences at:


CIRCLE was established in 2004 by five professors at Lund University and Blekinge Institute of Technology, financed by a 6-year grant from Vinnova (Sweden’s Innovation Agency) and matching funding from Lund University. During its first decade, CIRCLE expanded from less than 10 to more than 50 employees. 

In 2006, CIRCLE was awarded a 10-year Linnaeus Grant by Vetenskapsrådet (Swedish Research Council). This grant was of strategic importance for CIRCLE’s development to become one of the leading European research milieus in its area of study.

In 2010, CIRCLE was ranked as number one of nine innovation research centers in Sweden and received Vinnova’s highest grade. As a result, CIRCLE was awarded another 6-year grant from Vinnova, with matching funding from Lund University. 

In January 2016, CIRCLE was assigned a new role at Lund University, that of gathering university-wide innovation research. Circle is achieving this as part of Design Sciences with the aim of serving as a hub for innovation research across multiple faculties including among others, Engineering (LTH), Social Sciences and the School of Economics and Management.

CIRCLE directors:

  • Professor Charles Edquist (2004-2011)
  • Professor Björn Asheim (2011-2012)
  • Professor Ron Boschma (2013-2015)
  • Professor Jerker Moodysson (2016)
  • Professor Åsa Lindholm Dahlstrand (2016-2019)
  • Professor Markus Grillitsch (from 2020)
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CIRCLE is supported by

Vinnova (The Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems)

Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council)

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences)

Formas (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning)

The Rausing Foundation

European Commission

Energimyndigheten (The Swedish Energy Agency)

Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation

Forskningsrådet (The Norwegian Research Council)