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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Territories and technologies in an unstable knowledge economy : An evolutionary framework of regional resilience

This projects aims to develop theoretical and empirical research on the critical determinants of regional resilience. New business and consumer paradigms have recently emerged around eco-innovation, biotechnology, and photonics. At the same time, contemporary economic systems are characterized by high levels of internationalisation, chronic macro-economic instability and increasingly significant environmental challenges. A key question is whether regions that succeed in developing such emerging technological fields are more resilient to these trends. The project examines this question by building an evolutionary framework of regional resilience that facilitates understanding of how markets, technologies and territories co-evolve in a highly open and unstable economic environment. 

A central research question is whether growth through ‘related variety’ is preferable for reasons of diversity and inter-sectoral innovation opportunities, than that based upon ‘specialisation’ in specific high-demand technologies. The structural properties of networks will also be studied in order to investigate how and where they might favour related variety, along with how some organizations and governance structures help develop appropriate knowledge connections.

This framework will be tested through quantitative assessments of technological relatedness at the European level in emerging technological fields, and qualitative assessment based on detailed biographies of the knowledge dynamics at work in selected territories.