Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy |Lund University

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Innovation systems and innovation policy

With few exceptions, the global economy suffers from a lack of economic growth. Innovation is the only sustainable strategy for promoting competitiveness and economic growth. Innovation cannot be left to firms, the market or the public sector alone but it requires an organized approach where all important stakeholders collaborate. Innovation policy, thus, plays a strategic role in promoting economic growth.

The platform studies institutions and networks of organizations in the public and private sectors, the activities and interactions of which, influence innovation processes. From a policy perspective, the platform researches how optimal collaboration between important stakeholders in an innovation system can be achieved through various types of innovation policies on different geographical levels. Research on regional innovation systems has been renewed through the introduction of the knowledge base approach underpinning the promotion of the principles of constructing regional advantage as the basis for a more broad based innovation policy. Furthermore, internationally leading research on public procurement for innovation, as part of a broader national innovation policy, has been initiated.

Research topics:

New industrial path development:

  • Structural change is a core theme in the scientific and policy debate as response to challenges such as technological change (e.g. digitalisation, artificial intelligence, 3D-printing), globalization, climate change, and migration.
  • How new industrial paths emerge, to what extent regional structural preconditions play a role, and what role exogenous sources play are important research topics.
  • Furthermore, CIRCLE research puts a focus on micro-level agentic-process, which so far have received to little attention as the literature foregrounds structural barriers to change.

Innovation in the periphery

  • Increasing disparities between core urban centers and peripheral regions are a challenge in Europe and beyond. What can be the role of non-core regions in the global knowledge economy and to what extent and how firms can remain competitive and innovative are therefore important questions.
  • Using firm-level survey and linked employer-employee register data, we analyze the effects of location and potential mediating factors for firm growth and innovativeness.
  • At the regional level, we investigate to what extent growth differs for regions with similar preconditions and assess to what extent and how regional stakeholders can contribute to shaping their growth trajectories.

Strong Research and Innovation Milieus

  • A large research project on Strong Research and Innovation Milieus using the many existing and planned research facilities and infrastructure at Lund University (IDEON, Medicon Village, MAX 4, and ESS) as cases should be developed as a CIRCLE based project. The aim of these establishments is not only to conduct cutting edge international research but also to promote economic development through successful exploration. CIRCLE has world-leading competence on how to link exploration with exploitation through well-working innovation systems and knowledge based entrepreneurship.


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