Modelling Innovation Dynamics

The thematic area Modelling Innovation Dynamics shifts attention to the quantitative analysis and modelling of innovation systems.Understanding an innovation system as a set of actors interlinked via joint research and innovation activities, we address questions, like: How can we empirically observe the (spatial, thematic and institutional) development of such systems? How do certain framework characteristics, like e.g. policy interventions, determine their development? How can we measure the performance of an innovation system and their elements (e.g. research actors) by meaningful indicators?

The backbone for our research in the thematic area constitutes, on the one hand, methodological competencies in advanced quantitative – statistical and mathematical – methods and, on the other hand, large scale data infrastructures as a basis for empirical insights into innovation systems.

Given our strong focus on networks in innovation systems, methods from social network analysis and complex network analysis are central in our research.

Further, we rely on advanced econometric methods, particularly spatial econometrics and spatial interaction modelling techniques, to model the influence of exogenous factors on specific innovation system characteristics, such as knowledge production intensity evidenced by patenting activities.

To address such questions from a micro perspective, the area also develops and applies Agent Based Modelling methods, enhancing our understanding of the potential impacts of different kinds of policy interventions on innovation systems.

Without data, meaningful quantitative analysis or modelling of innovation systems is impossible. Thus, the thematic area also puts major efforts into developing, maintaining and using large-scale data infrastructures that can be used to measure different aspects of innovation systems. The most prominent example is the EUPRO database on R&D projects, which enables us to empirically trace the pan-European network of actors jointly performing EU-funded R&D.

In addition, we use patent databases and publication databases to grasp other types of innovation activities, while we also conduct surveys to gather quantitative empirical insights into more specific aspects of the innovation system.