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BRITE Research Projects

Crossing Boundaries

Crossing Boundaries is a Framework 7 project (IRSES) that aims to develop a new international and multi-disciplinary research community working in exploring the processes, challenges and implications on innovation performance of knowledge and technology transfer across national boundaries.

It departs from the premise, that the transfer of knowledge and technology across national boundaries is not a straight forward process.

It requires considerable effort and organisational and institutional change to succeed.

This revolves primarily around the development of capabilities, including ‘social capabilities’, ‘technological capabilities’, and ‘absorptive capacity of firms’.

This research community will focus particularly in addressing five research questions:

  1. Who are the actors involved in the process of knowledge and technology transfer for the purposes of innovation across national boundaries?
  2. What are the processes of knowledge and technology transfer across national boundaries and how do these differ according to the actors involved?
  3. How do contextual factors (such as institutional divergence, cultural differences and geographic distance) influence the processes of knowledge and technology transfer across national boundaries?
  4. How do organisational factors (such as technological capabilities, and the absorptive capacity of the firm) influence the processes of knowledge and technology transfer across national boundaries?
  5. What are the implications for policy and policy transfer for innovation?

The programme will contribute in the development of theoretical constructs and provide an evidence base drawn from the experience of the countries involved in Crossing Boundaries that could be used to inform future research and policy.

More information

Innovation Laboratories

An open innovation learning platform bringing together university students and academics with enterprises in order to support innovation in Ukraine and Belarus. Funded by the TEMPUS programme of the EU, the project sets out to bridge the gap between academic and industry.

This is achieved through the development of a network of five innovation laboratories (three in Ukraine and two in Belarus) that will be part of undergraduate curricula, and regional innovation ecosystems.

The innovation laboratories are visible points of cooperation between universities and enterprises.

They allow student teams (led by academics) to work with enterprises in resolving ‘real-world’ problems and developing innovations, as part of their studies.

They provide a key resource to enterprises who want to innovate.

Key objectives are:

  1. to combine open innovation learning and action research in university education that is relevant to the needs of enterprises;
  2. to embed innovation laboratories at the heart of regional innovation ecosystems: facilitating communication between universities and firms and between businesses;
  3. to integrate innovation labs in mainstream university activities (particularly curricula), through so that they continue to exist in the long-term;
  4. ensure effective coordination, and maximum dissemination of outputs in Belarus, Ukraine and other Eastern Neighbourhood countries.

More information

Any place for business? The future of entrepreneurial cultures in deprived areas

This is a collaborative research project with the University of Liverpool.

It is funded by a small grant from the ISBE/Research and Knowledge Exchange Fund 2013 with support from the ESRC and Barclays.

The project will look at the impact of place on attitudes to enterprise in deprived areas.

It will explore this by capturing and comparing the voices of young people aged 18-25 in extreme deprived and prosperous areas within two UK city regions.

We will be analysing how young people talk about their place and how prevailing discourses affect their attitudes and perceived ability to engage with enterprise activities.

The research will result in a database comprising approximately 500,000 words of spoken text.

Data will be collected through 40 qualitative interviews with people aged 18-25 (20 in Bradford and 20 in Liverpool).

There will also be a ‘Stakeholder Engagement Series’, involving four knowledge exchange workshops with practitioners and local policy makers in Bradford and Liverpool.

These will inform the research and, with participants’ consent, might be recorded as an additional source of semi-ethnographic data.

Enterprise in deprived areas

While enterprise was posited as antidote to UK area based deprivation and social exclusion for many decades, research has done little to examine at an empirical level the contextual factors affecting engagement at the level of specific communities.

Many social theories of entrepreneurship may apply more than in lagging areas suffering vicious dynamics of decline.

Caroline Parkinson’s research on deprived communities uses discourse studies of constructions of entrepreneurship to explore differences in these areas.

Young people in the informal economy

Carole Howorth and Caroline Parkinson are working with Barnardo’s and Bradford City Council on a research project to understand the nature and motivations of informal enterprise activity among 16-24 year olds in the Bradford district.

The project will inform how social partners in the district can work to support those engaged in the shadow economy.


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