The significance of change agency for innovation and transformation in relationally peripheral regions
This research project departs from the acknowledgement that numerous mechanisms of innovations and with that the genesis of knowledge-based development paths are in a process of changing dynamically. The reasons for this are above all developments in the area of digitalization as well as new requirements resulting from decarbonisation targets. These result in new up to now insufficiently researched implications not only for economic centres but also for structurally weak areas.
Against this background, the project combines two current debates, both of which support the notion that, conceptually, a spatially differentiated analysis of knowledge-based development paths would be increasingly necessary. In practice, however, it seems far from sufficiently implemented.
Geographical innovation research on the development of industrial paths, for example, in principle recognizes the role of less developed regions. In practice, however, most studies remain focussed on technologically leading centres. In parallel, research on socio-technical transitions articulates the ambition of elaborating on the spatial dimension of actor networks and transformation in more detail, which - in a similar - remains far from fully achieved.
Conceptually, this project will build on approaches motivated by the agency concept are particularly relevant and suitable to empirically capture corresponding developments. Building on recent advances in the conceptual literature, we will seek to develop and operationalise empirical strategies that are more suitable for the study of less developed regions than established approaches based on resource endowments as documented in official statistics and databases.