Two PhD Positions at CIRCLE

Bild till Lunds univeristet nya internationella webbplats och kataloger 2010

Source: LU Bildbanken

Two fully funded 4-year PhD positions are available from March 1st 2017 (or as soon as possible thereafter) at Lund University. The PhDs will be employed at the Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE) and are to be admitted to the doctoral (PhD) program in Human Geography. Applicants with a background in innovation studies, sustainability transitions, economic geography or other relevant social science disciplines are encouraged to apply.

PhD 1 will be connected to a Horizon 2020 research project ‘REINVENT – Realising Innovation in Transitions for Decarbonisation’, which deals with innovation processes for decarbonisation in energy-intensive industries (steel, plastics, paper and food). The research of the doctoral candidate will focus on (1) mapping decarbonisation innovations using existing data sources and (2) analysing decarbonisation innovations using both qualitative (innovation biographies) and quantitative methods. Full description:

PhD 2 will be connected to the MISTRA-funded research project ‘STEPS – Sustainable Plastics and Transition Pathways’, which focuses on the transition towards sustainable plastics. The research of the doctoral candidate will be concerned with the systemic aspects of innovative plastic technologies in relation to policy, governance, consumer behaviour, innovation processes and business. The doctoral candidate should outline a more specific research agenda within this broad topic. Full description:

NB! Candidates with an interest in both positions are encouraged to apply for both of them (i.e. submitting two applications)!

Deadline for application December 23, 2016

Contact: Teis Hansen –

CIRCLE seminar with Dr. Fabio Montobbio on Inventor Mobility and Productivity in Italian Regions


Dr. Fabio Montobbio

Dr. Fabio Montobbio, associate professor at the University of Torino and research associate of KITES at Bocconi University, will give a seminar on “Inventor Mobility and Productivity in Italian Regions”.

Date: 23/11, 15.00-16.00

Place: CIRCLE, Seminar Room, M213, MNO-Huset, Sölvegatan 16

Abstract: This paper describes the inter-regional mobility of Italian inventors and estimates the impact on total factor productivity (TFP) at the regional level for the period 1996-2011. A new dataset of Italian inventors identifies whether an inventor moves between regions and countries. To measure regions’ TFP, it is adopted a growth accounting approach estimating regions’ capital stock. Using a set of geography based instruments to address the endogeneity of inventor mobility, the paper shows that inventor mobility contributes to explaining the changes in TFP growth across Italian regions.

PhD defence by Hanna Martin on Innovation and Grand Challenges


Download PhD thesis

Hanna Martin, PhD candidate at CIRCLE and the Department of Human Geography, Lund University, will defend her thesis with the title “Innovation for Tackling Grand Challenges: Cleantech Industry Dynamics and Regional Context”.

Opponent: Prof. Kevin Morgan (Cardiff University)

Date: 2016-11-24, 13:00
Place: Room 111 (Världen), Geocentrum I, Sölvegatan 10, Lund

Abstract: Grand challenges such as climate change put focus away from innovations and innovation policy as engines of economic growth towards fulfilling societal goals and sighting sustainable development. The literature on the geography of innovation has provided valuable insight on innovation activities of firms and industries and how they are positively influenced by co-location. In particular, short geographical distances have been found to facilitate trust, knowledge exchange and interactive learning processes that favour innovation. Innovation activities that address grand challenges have however gained surprisingly little attention in the discipline. This PhD thesis addresses this shortcoming and studies how and why change processes of industries towards more environmentally friendly modes in regions occur – or not. In other words, it engages in the question how such industry dynamics are enabled and/or constrained by regional context conditions. Consequently, it also puts central focus on the role respectively possibilities and limitations of regional innovation policy to support desirable transformation processes.
The development of a bio-economy which draws on renewable resources from biomass possesses a key role in addressing grand challenges. Particularly, as biomass currently constitutes the only renewable resource for the production of liquid fuels and for materials such as plastics and chemicals. The dissertation engages in the possibilities and limitations of regions and their industries to realize shifts towards a bio-economy. Its theoretical objective is to contribute to a more coherent conceptual framework in the literature on economic geography regarding how to address grand challenges. The dissertation takes a regional innovation system perspective which considers economic and social interactions of actors from industry, academia and government as crucial for innovation to occur. This view is complemented by insights from the literature on socio-technical transitions which provides a co-evolutionary perspective on technologies and institutions. The findings suggest that in order to address grand challenges, regional innovation systems should be understood as being embedded into broader socio-technical systems. In other words, overall societal and economic developments impact activities of actors and actor groups in a regional innovation system. They can, on the one hand, reinforce ongoing (path-dependent) activities, while they, on the other hand, also can constitute triggers/origins for (radical) innovations. RIS can provide favourable settings for transformative, niche innovations to come about – for their further establishment however, the creation of so-called socio-technical alignments is crucial. These imply overall altered production and consumption patterns and co-evolving changes in technologies, infrastructures, regulatory frameworks and other societal dimensions, for example lifestyles. These insights lead to a new perspective on regional innovation policy and its role to create such alignments, both within and across regional boundaries and spatial scales.
The research design is informed by a critical realist perspective, providing the ontological and epistemological basis for the conceptual advancement. The dissertation largely draws on qualitative research methods and studies industries in three different Swedish regions and their undertaking to increasingly, respectively more efficiently use biomass as raw material. In particular, the empirical focus is on the paper and pulp industry in the region around Örnsköldsvik, the biogas industry in Scania and the chemicals industry in the Stenungsund-Gothenburg region.
This dissertation spans four articles that are published in or that are submitted to different, peer-reviewed journals. The articles are preceded by an introductory chapter which provides the overall theoretical background and framing, the research design and central findings of the dissertation.

CIRCLE seminar with Prof. Scott Stern on Quantity and Quality of American Entrepreneurship


Prof. Scott Stern

Prof. Scott Stern, a scholar at MIT Sloan School of Management, will give a seminar on “The state of American entrepreneurship: new estimates of the quantity and quality of entrepreneurship for 15 US States, 1988-2014”

Date: 16/11, 14.00-15.00

Place: CIRCLE, Seminar Room, M213, MNO-Huset, Sölvegatan 16

Abstract: While official measures of business dynamism have seen a long-term decline, early-stage venture financing of new companies has reached levels not observed since the late 1990s, resulting in a sharp debate about the state of American entrepreneurship. Building on Guzman and Stern (2015a; 2015b), this paper offers new evidence to inform this debate by estimating measures of entrepreneurial quality based on predictive analytics and comprehensive business registries. Our estimates suggest that the probability of a significant growth outcome (either an IPO or highvalue acquisition) is highly skewed and predicted by observables at or near the time of business registration: 69% of realized growth events are in the top 5% of our estimated growth distribution. This high level of skewness motivates the development of three new economic statistics that simultaneously account for both the quantity as well as the quality of entrepreneurship: the Entrepreneurial Quality Index (EQI, measuring the average quality level among a group of start-ups within a given cohort), the Regional Entrepreneurship Cohort Potential Index (RECPI, measuring the growth potential of firms founded within a given region and time period) and the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Index (REAI, measuring the performance of a region over time in realizing the potential of firms founded there). We use these statistics to establish several new findings about the history and state of US entrepreneurship using data for 15 states (covering 51% of the overall US economy) from 1988 through 2014. First, in contrast the secular decline in the aggregate quantity of entrepreneurship observed in series such as the Business Dynamic Statistics (BDS), the growth potential of start-up companies (RECPI relative to GDP) has followed a cyclical pattern that seems sensitive to the capital market environment and overall economic conditions. Second, while the peak value of RECPI is recorded in 2000, the level during the first decade during this century was actually higher than the late 1980s and first half of the 1990s, and also has experienced a sharp upward swing beginning in 2010. Even after controlling for changes in the overall size of the economy, the second highest level of entrepreneurial growth potential is registered in 2014. Third, the likelihood of start-up firms for a given quality level to realize their potential (REAI) declined sharply in the late 1990s, and did not recover through 2008. These findings suggest that divergent assessments of the state of American entrepreneurship can potentially be reconciled by explicitly adopting a quantitative approach to the measurement of entrepreneurial quality.

CIRCLE seminar with Dr. Anders Broström on “The Value of Entrepreneurial Peers”


Anders Broström, Assistant Professor and researcher at CESIS, KTH, Stockholm, will give a seminar on “The Value of Entrepreneurial Peers”.

Date: 9/11: 14:00-15:00

Place: CIRCLE seminar room, M213

Discussant: Claudio Fassio, CIRCLE

Abstract: We use population wide data of all working Swedes to examine the impact of entrepreneurial workplace peers on entrepreneurial choices. We examine the net effect of two channels of peer effects; social learning and social utility. When someone becomes an entrepreneur her peers might also want to become an entrepreneur, because peers learn something useful from this choice (social learning), and/or because people obtain consumption utility for making the same choice (social utility). We observe the percentage of workplace peers having been entrepreneurs in the past five years, and correlate that with the probability that a person becomes an entrepreneur in the following year, and with future earnings in entrepreneurship. We instrument peer effects by whether entrepreneurial peers are not longer active at the workplace due to premature death, retirement or parental leave. Consistent with Nanda & Sorenssen (2010), IV as well as OLS estimation show that an increase in peer entrepreneurship increases the probability of becoming an entrepreneur. OLS estimates also indicate that the presence of entrepreneurial peers also increases relative earnings in entrepreneurship, suggesting the presence of effective social learning. However, IV estimation does not provide support for any such effects.

Final PhD seminar with Yannu Zheng on the inventive performance of immigrants in Sweden

yannuYannu Zheng, PhD candidate at CIRCLE and the Department of Economic History, will present her PhD project with a working title “The inventive performance of immigrants in Sweden and its impact factors, 1985–2007”. The final seminar is the last opportunity for the PhD candidate to present her work and receive feedback before the actual PhD defense.

Discussants: Benny Carlson and Björn Eriksson, Department of Economic History, Lund University.

Date: Monday, 7th of November, 14.15

Place: Alfa1:3004, Scheelevägen 15 B, Lund

Abstract: This thesis has an initial examination on the inventive performance of immigrants in Sweden as well as its impact factors based on a unique database that matches inventors with the entire population from 1985 to 2007. The results show that the inventive performance of immigrants vary dramatically across those with different backgrounds. This is strongly related to the selection of immigrants, migration policy in Sweden, age of migration and parents’ region of origin (impact on integration level) as well as the match of education and occupation for immigrants. In general, first-generation immigrants are negatively selected and have lower performance outcomes than Swedish-born but immigrant inventors perform as well as Swedish-born inventors. First-generation immigrants’ high concentration in low-skilled occupations and lower match between education level and occupation than that of natives is the main reason to impede their probability of patenting in majority of sectors. The only exception is the high-tech knowledge intensive service (KIS) sector, where the match for immigrants is similar as that of natives and their performance is similar. For second-generation immigrants, the selection of their foreign-born parents and their physical or cognitive proximity of region of origin to Sweden, which is affected by their parents’ region of origin, also affect their inventive performance through intergeneration transmission. In the short-run, the liberalization of migration within the EU/EEA in 1994 has negative effect on the education structure for immigrants from the EU-15 compared with those from the other developed regions, but there is no effect on the their probability of being an inventor.


CIRCLE seminar with Dr. Markus Simeth on “The Gravity of Scientific Disclosure in Technological Competition”


Markus Simeth, Assistant Professor at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, will give a seminar on “The Gravity of Scientific Disclosure in Technological Competition”.

Date: 26/10: 14.00-15.00

Place: CIRCLE seminar room, M213

Abstract: The voluntary disclosure of R&D outcomes by firms is receiving increasing attention by scholars and practitioners. In this paper, we shed light on the impact of scientific publications by firms on the choice of technological trajectories and competition by rivals. We test our predictions using a representative sample of US American firms from the semiconductor industry. By relying on a gravity model that contrasts every firm directly with its competitors, we show that scientific publications of a focal firm incentivizes competitors to build on this knowledge. This effect is increasing if the firm receiving information has built up a specific scientific absorptive capacity. We interpret our findings as being consistent with the view that firms can actively influence the R&D strategies of competitors by strategically disclosing knowledge.