Industrialized nations currently face global challenges; new future technologies, climate change and international value chains are changing existing system structures and require a reorientation of innovation policy.

The innovation systems literature examines the importance of innovation to the growth of a system, which is understood to include one or more economies, regions, sectors, or technological units. However, due to its versatile applicability, the diversity of systemic approaches has been increasing since the 1980s, leading to challenges in describing, synthesizing, and advancing the research field, and thus decreasing coherence in collaborative research efforts. 

In addition, the majority of studies currently use static and descriptive approaches that capture a comparison of multiple systems at a given point in time, and methodological approaches to measure the development of innovation systems remain highly fragmented. 

Ein blühender Kirschbaum im Gegenlicht der Sonne.

Research need and aim

Appropriate approaches to understand the evolution and impact of system structures and to derive coherent recommendations for action are lacking. 

An understanding about the evolution of innovation systems can help anticipate several dimensions such as the dynamics of national innovation systems based on technological characteristics or explain global dynamics by looking at regional structures.

A research exchange between the perspectives and a knowledge transfer on the influencing factors and their operationalization provides a better understanding about the development and support of innovation systems. 

The research questions are:

  1. How do innovation systems evolve over time and are there similar trends between the different approaches?
  2. What is the impact of institutional factors and new technologies on the development of innovation systems and how can they be measured?



The aim of the network is to receive impulses for the improvement of the concepts and methods and to prepare and publish joint scientific work. 

A pack of books.


The project is structured in 3 work meetings and 2 conferences over 2 stages. 

Stage 1 involves a research exchange between the different perspectives on innovation systems through a 1.5-day network meeting and an international conference. Stage 2 includes the transfer of knowledge to the fields of institutions and technologies in order to understand the development and measurement of innovation systems. Here, two 1.5-day network meetings and an international conference will enable the development of concrete approaches on the institutional measures and new technologies that influence the development of innovation systems. 

The network meetings and conferences will be held at the University of Bremen and the institutions of the cooperation partners of the "Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk" at the University of Göttingen, TU Braunschweig and Friedrich-Schiller University Jena.