Does an industrial cluster evolve in much the same way as a biological species adapts? Should firms innovate competitively, collaboratively, or by using/exploiting the best internal and external ideas? Does a University provide greater value to all those it serves by engaging in pure research, applied research, or both? How do scientists as principal investigators boundary span and transfer knowledge?

Drawing together experts in economic geography, business, strategy, marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation, the Innovation and Structural Change research cluster is a leader in research on industrial clustering and regional competitiveness, dynamic capabilities, technology entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial universities, technology transfer and scientists as principal investigators.

If you would like to research innovation and structural change – or if your government, company or community would benefit from our expertise and experience some insights on both – contact the cluster leader Dr Rachel Hilliard.

Research Focus

The expertise in the Innovation and Structural Change cluster includes:

  1. How regional innovation clusters form and grow, and why over-specialisation can cause them to decline or die.
  2. How public policy can be more important than entrepreneurship in decisions by individual firms to locate near each other, driving the development of a cluster.
  3. How academics, industrialists, entrepreneurs and Technology Transfer Offices communicate, collaborate and integrate.
  4. How a balance of exploratory and exploitative research in Universities strengthens academic inquiry and economic competitiveness.

Awards & Achievements

  1. A two-year, €490,000 project which built a new database of company and product data for identifying industrial clusters creating competitive advantage for Ireland. The new database enables technological activities to be examined, technology-related clusters to be specified, and emerging technologies and technology management capabilities to be pinpointed.
  2. A three-year, €136,000 project for regions of the Atlantic Area to establish a the basis for becoming regions of excellence i.e. proven efficiency for competitiveness, economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development, by implementing a common methodology for regional scientific, technological and innovation knowledge management.
  3. A continuing, funding for All-Ireland Innovation programme funded by  InterTradeIreland and in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, University College Dublin, and University College Cork.
  4. A four-year, €190,000+ initiative developing new analytical tools for modelling the environmental and economic performance in Irish industry, testing these statistical and case study tools in two industry sectors, and inferring policy measures to encourage business development along a sustainable path.  A follow-up presented the experience of participants and impact and outcome of the EPA’s cleaner, greener production programme.