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BRITE Research Themes

Our work is focused around three themes:

Knowledge and innovation across boundaries

The past thirty years or so are commonly viewed as marking the dawn of a new era of innovation-mediated production where the principal component of value creation, productivity and economic growth is knowledge.

Within this context, knowledge emerges as a key enabling factor in the innovation process.

However, the process of transferring knowledge across organisational and national boundaries is not a straight forward one.

These challenges may be the result of geographical, institutional and organizational distance.

Our researchers have carried out extensive research on university-industry knowledge transfer and innovation, intellectual property rights (IPR) issues affecting the knowledge transfer in joint ventures, and digital capabilities and their influence on knowledge flows and innovation.

Work in this theme is inherently interdisciplinary bringing in insights from innovation studies, science policy, economic geography, and knowledge management.

Technology diffusion and supply chains

It is now widely acknowledged by researchers and policy-makers that technology is a major influence of innovation, and impacts on enterprise performance and the development of regions and countries.

Within this context, there is considerable interest on issues around how technologies progress and diffuse both across space and between different organisations.

This has profound influences upon management decision making and policy action.

Our researchers have provided ground-breaking insights into the technology life cycle and its implications for technology users and developers, industrial structural change and technology adoption, issues around supply chain (particularly environmental factors) in relation to performance management, and the impact of future technologies in manufacturing (such as additive manufacturing and 3-D printing) on business – especially regarding appropriate adoption decisions.

Entrepreneurship in context

Entrepreneurship is no longer seen as a stand-alone concept, divorced from physical, social or historical context.

It is a complex social phenomenon that needs to be understood in relation to its context.

We believe that is essential to develop a better understanding of how different contextual factors – from place and proximity factors to embeddedness in social structures - influence enterprise and entrepreneurial processes.

Our researchers have looked for example at: the link between small firms and locality (particularly in deprived areas), social enterprise and community franchising, family business, enterprise in the rural context, and enterprise in the shadow economy.

These contexts provide rich opportunities to learn about aspects such as entrepreneurial identities or barriers to enterprise development.

This often requires applying theories, evidence and research methods from outside the domain of entrepreneurship.

Challenging times also demand far better understandings of how enterprise can play a productive role in national and regional, in different country contexts.

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