Knowledge and Economic and Social Change: New Challenges to Innovation Studies


Call for Papers Knowledge and Economic and Social Change: New Challenges to Innovation Studies

Manchester, UK, April 7-9, 2003

Innovation Studies has made great progress in the last 30 years, and has been a major contributor to revealing the powerful role of knowledge creation and exploitation in driving economic and social change. Furthermore, much of this progress has been achieved by cross-disciplinary work involving economists, sociologists, historians and political scientists. But the current developments in the global economy, in technologies and in political systems are continuing to pose new challenges to analysis. The purpose of this conference is to bring together the innovation studies community to take on these challenges.

The role of knowledge in the operation of the global economy is increasing in importance and complexity. There is a qualitative change in the conditions under which knowledge is exploited to create wealth, to improve the quality of life, and to move towards a sustainable ecosystem, economy and society. As the nature of the knowledge economy changes and is better understood, a distinctive new research agenda has emerged to study the management of innovation and to develop new innovation policies. These themes, and the research questions they pose, are the subject of this conference.

The Conference is organised by 'Advances in the Economic and Social Analysis of Technology' (ASEAT) and the 'Institute of Innovation Research' (I of IR)

The Institute is a new research centre that brings together three existing centres - CRIC (Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition), CROMTEC (Centre for Research on Organisations, Management and Technical Change and PREST (Programme of Policy Research in Engineering, Science and Technology).

Call for Papers

We are inviting papers on the following broad topics:

1.     Innovation and the Changing Global Economy

Structural changes are taking place both within and between national economies, such as the shift of economic activity to the tertiary sector; the lowering of trade barriers, consolidation in some industries, rapid emergence of new players in others. Innovation activities take on an increasingly 'network' character and are more widely distributed across the globe. So, 

2.     Managing Technology and Innovation beyond the Boundaries of the Firm

Even the largest firms now find that it is uneconomic to remain self-sufficient in creating all the technical and market knowledge that is required to pursue their business. Consequently, the act of innovation now involves the mobilisation of a network of economic agents who possess complementary knowledge and capabilities. This in turn requires careful investments in 'knowing what others know'. So, 

3.     Policy in Knowledge Production and Knowledge Use

The changes in the institutional map of knowledge production and use create a new situation for the formulation and application of policy. Blurring the boundaries between the different types of knowledge activity undermines one of the traditional touchstones of policy in this field: namely, that market failure applies strongly to certain types of knowledge production. New conceptual underpinnings for policy-making that are more appropriate to the new conditions are needed. So, 

4.     Innovation for Sustainability and the Quality of Life

A prominent feature of the socio-political environment in which all the above analytical and practical questions are set is the debate over what is socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable. This creates powerful new business opportunities in some fields, and it creates complexity and unexpected interconnections between previously discrete policy domains. These challenge conventional policy processes and undermine the previously accepted assumption that innovation and economic growth are inherently 'good'. So, 

In addressing these questions, all social and management science disciplines are welcomed, in keeping with ASEAT's long-standing theme of studying technological innovation from a variety of viewpoints.

Further details 

Deadline for submission of Abstracts is July 12th, 2002.


Sharon Hammond
ESRC Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition
The University of Manchester
Ground Floor, Devonshire House
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9QH, England
e-mail: Sharon HammondUkk0∂man ac uk