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Research Areas

The working group "Innovation and Structural Change" is dedicated to theory-led empirical research in four subject areas, which are worked on in teams. A large number of the projects in these four subject areas are financed by third-party funds and are carried out with cooperation partners in Germany and abroad. The promotion of young scientists in the form of PhDs and postdoctoral career paths plays an important role in all areas of our research. 

Research area 1: System Transformation and Structural Change

The collapse of socialism was accompanied by a radical break within the system and a complete transformation of the economy, science, administration and society. As a result, the former socialist countries underwent massive structural change. However, the legacy of the socialist past is still visible today, and the early phase of transformation set the course for today's level of development. The long-term economic consequences of such a massive system transformation can only be thoroughly researched today - 30 years after the fall of communism. We devote ourselves to this task with a special focus on technological progress and the innovation systems of the countries and regions concerned. Regional inequalities, the effects of state funding and, last but not least, the role of socio-institutional factors, which are still effective today, play a major role in the work of this research area. 

At present, the Mod-Block-DDR research network, which is funded by the BMBF, is coordinated in this research area and worked on with three university partners.

Research area 2: Internationalisation and Digitisation

Globalization and the digital transformation are also massively changing research and innovation processes. Multinational companies with their numerous international locations, increasingly complex technologies, global competition for the best ideas and the technological catching-up of emerging markets are essential aspects and challenges to which we are dedicated in this area. The research is based on quantitative studies using microdata.

The work of this research area contributes to the graduate group "Diginomics"of the Department of Economics of the University of Bremen. In this group, we focus on the topic "Global competition for technological leadership in the field of artificial intelligence".

Research area 3: Innovation and New Technologies

Innovations can be the result of individual actors in the sense of "entrepreneurship". But cooperation between companies and other actors, which ultimately form complex network structures, also produces innovations. In this thematic focus we deal with both perspectives - entrepreneurship activities and innovation networks. In doing so, we take a systemic perspective as a basis and examine the creation and dynamic change of innovation networks and how networks influence economic performance at the micro, meso and macro levels. In addition, we investigate the emergence and change of fields of technology, for example the role of radical innovations or innovation policy support initiatives. The geographical dimension plays an important role in all our analyses. From a methodological point of view, we use empirical, experimental and simulation-based methods to understand innovation processes and provide recommendations for innovation and technology policy.

Currently, the projects B2B Future, Neo-Indicators and VISIBLE 2.0, which are funded by third parties, are carried out in cooperation with our research partners.

Research area 4: Sustainability, Energy and Environmental Innovations

Scarcity of resources, environmental pollution, climate change. The achievement of climate policy goals and ecological sustainability are embedded in a social and economic context. Climate and environmental policy measures are drivers of structural change and represent a global challenge. In this thematic area, the working group addresses a number of questions on this area of contention: What is the potential of "green technologies" to reduce resource use and greenhouse gases? Are environmental impacts reduced or merely shifted? What influence does structural change have on resource use? Which social factors contribute to companies developing and using environmentally friendly technologies? In this thematic area, indicators for measuring environmental innovations based on patent data are developed and applied in empirical-quantitative studies at the level of countries, regions and individual actors.

Out of this research area, we currently contribute to the development of the Bremen Center for Energy Systems (BEST). These activities take place in cooperation with the faculties of Physics/Electrical Engineering, Mathematics/Informatics as well as production technology. The objective of BEST is to integrate energy research at the University of Bremen, to apply jointly for third party funding, to support young scholar's careers, and to transfer knowledge to industry and society.