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ANR funded project

Open Research Area in Europe (ORA) 2010
Projet T-RES

Territories and technologies in an unstable knowledge economy: an evolutionary framework of regional resilience

This project aims to develop theoretical and empirical researches on the critical determinants of regional resilience, and to produce some renewed policy implications for the European knowledge economy. Contemporary economic systems are featured by a high rate of technological cycles and an increasing range of demand-driven innovations. As a result, new business and consumer paradigms have emerged around eco-innovation, biotechnology, photonics and embedded systems for mobility and transport. At the same time, contemporary economic systems are characterized by a high level of internationalisation, chronic macro-economic instability and an increasing awareness of environmental challenges, so that regions that succeed in developing these emerging technological fields expect to be more successful in benefiting from new opportunities for growth through resilience. The project deals with these trends by developing an evolutionary framework of regional resilience that facilitate understanding of how markets, technologies and territories co-evolve in a highly open and unstable economic environment.

This project is proposed by leading research centres of expertise from the four countries of the ORA call for proposal, each of which has considerable past experience of collaborative research within the fields of Economic Geography, the Knowledge Economy and cluster policies. The research program will focus on the identification of the relevant conditions of regional resilience. Technological variety, knowledge recombination and evolving territorial networks will be at the heart of this identification process. In particular, a key research question is whether growth through ‘related variety’ is preferable for reasons of diversity and inter-sectoral innovation opportunities, than that based upon ‘specialisation’ in specific high-demand technologies. From an evolutionary perspective, new branching processes and knowledge relatedness depend upon the ability of knowledge networks to evolve and avoid lock-in effects. The structural properties of networks will be studied in order to show that some of them favour related variety and the emergence of new technological fields, as well as some organizations and governance structures play a specific role in regional resilience.

This framework will be tested through quantitative and qualitative empirical assessments. Using social network analysis and econometric models, quantitative assessments on technological relatedness at the European level will allow us to identify resilient regions in the above-mentioned emerging technological fields. Some of these leading places will be investigated through a qualitative assessment based on detailed biographies of the knowledge dynamics at work in the selected territories.


CASS Centre for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences

GREThA Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée


RUFIS Research Institute for Regional and Innovation Policies

URU Urban and Regional Research Centre Utrecht

ANR grant: 219 999 euros
Beginning and duration: - 36 mois


ANR Programme: Open Research Area in Europe (ORA) 2010

Project ID: ANR-10-ORAR-0004

Project coordinator:


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