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Tue, 11 Oct




The 'IN CONVERSATION' series portray prominent innovation scholars of the day in the form of intellectual-biographical interviews. The 10th episode features FRANCO MALERBA in a deep conversation with RICHARD NELSON on 11 OCTOBER 2022

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Time & Location

11 Oct 2022, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm UTC



About the Event

About the Event

The IN CONVERSATION series portrays prominent innovation scholars of the day in the form of intellectual-biographical interviews with other senior scholars.

In the TENTH event FRANCO MALERBA will be interviewed by RICHARD NELSON (on 11 OCTOBER, 2022) at 1 PM GMT | 2 pm - London | 9 am - New York | 10 am – Brazil | 2 pm - London | 3 pm - Denmark, France, Italy & South Africa | 4 pm - EAT | 6.30 pm - India | 9 pm China & Malaysia | 10 pm - Tokyo | 11 PM Canberra

The event will be moderated by SUNIL MANI

Penel of discussants: Xiaolan Fu, Nicholas Vonortas & Yannis Caloghrou

Structure of the program (2 hours split up as follows)

Brief intro to the program and introducing NELSON (by SUNIL) 5 minutes

i. Introductory remarks by NELSON and FRANCO is introduced (10 minutes) followed by a conversation between them as follows

ii. Formative years and major influences - (10 minutes)

iii. Contributions, Critique and weakness, Current work & future course - (35 minutes): starting from the important contributions of FRANCO, evolving towards a critical evaluation of his work. Then moving on to discussions on what next given the changing circumstances, how the theoretical contributions are relevant in current circumstances etc. It is a platform to convey what they want future generations to take from FRANCO and how they can further develop standing on the strong base that was created.

iv. Comment on Status of Innovation Economics and what next? - (10 minutes)

Some of the possible questions could be the following. However the speakers can shape it the way they want it to be!

  • How did you end up doing research on innovation?
  • What were your most important contributions to the field?
  • To what degree have you engaged in teamwork and collective research?
  • How do you see the relationship between economics and innovation studies?
  • How do you see the role of innovation policy and innovation politics in development strategies?
  • How do you see the future for innovation studies?
  • At what level should we study innovation – micro, meso and macro?
  • What kind of methods should we use to study innovation and economic development?
  • What kind of advice would you like to give to young innovation scholars?
  • What role can innovation play in meeting global challenges?


v. Discussion (1 hour): For the 1 hour discussion a panel of scholars [Xiaolan Fu, Nicholas Vonortas & Yannis Caloghrou

] will ask questions or make comments on FRANCO's work. After FRANCO's response to them the forum will be open for questions from the general audience.

Brief Biodata of the speakers

Franco Malerba  is Professor of  Applied Economics at Bocconi University. Editor of the Journal Industrial and Corporate Change. Advisory editor of Research Policy. Associate editor of the Journal of Evolutionary Economics.  He has written extensively on innovation, evolutionary theory, sectoral systems, industrial dynamics, history-friendly models, knowledge and technological regimes, sectoral patters of innovative activities, start-ups entry and knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship, economic catch-up, the semiconductor and the computer industries, European innovation policy. Winner of the Schumpeter Prize in 2012. He has been President of EARIE (European Association of Research in Industrial Economics), of the International Schumpeter Society and of ICRIOS, Bocconi University,  and Director of CESPRI-Bocconi. He has been a visiting scholar at the Stern School at New York University; the Department of Economics, CEPR and SIEPR at Stanford University; Max Plank Institute-Jena; University of Queensland; University of Stellenbosch and Louis Pasteur University- Strasbourg. Previously he was in the Advisory Board of Max Planck Institute of Economics-Jena; SPRU- Sussex University;  CRIC- Manchester University. He participated in the EU High-Level Panels for “New Innovation Indicators for Europe” and  "The  New European Innovation Policy” Group.  More about Franco:

Richard Nelson is currently the George Blumenthal Professor Emeritus of International and Public Affairs, Business, and Law, and the director of the Program on Science, Technology and Global Development at Columbia's The Earth Institute. He is also Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester. He has served as research economist and analyst at the Rand Corporation, and at the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. His central interests have been in long-run economic change. Much of his research has been directed toward understanding technological change, how economic institutions and public policies influence the evolution of technology, and how technological change in turn induces institutional and economic change more broadly. Along with Sidney Winter, he has pioneered in trying to develop a way of economic theorizing that recognizes explicitly that the economy is almost always undergoing change, most of it unpredictable, and that theories that assume that economic agents understand well the context in which they are operating, and that the system is in equilibrium, are inadequate for analysis of many important economic questions. His book with Winter, An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change is widely recognized as a landmark in this field. More about Nelson:

Xiaolan Fu (傅晓岚) is the Founding Director of the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD), Professor of Technology and International Development, Fellow of Green Templeton College and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. She was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Ten-Member High Level Advisory Group of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism and to the Governing Council of the UN's Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries. She is also a member of the UN SDSN Leadership Council led by Jeffrey Sachs. She is winner of a 2021 Falling Walls Scientific Breakthrough Award, the 2019 winner of the CFA Asia-Pacific Research Exchange Award (CFA Insitute), the 2018 winner of the Best Journal Paper of the Year Award (European Academy of International Business), and the 2017 winner of the Best Paper Award (European Association of Management (EURAM) Innovation Strategic Interest Group).

Her research interests include innovation, technology and industrialisation; trade, foreign direct investment and economic development; emerging Asian economies; innovation and productivity in the UK/US.

She has published extensively in leading international journals independently or in collaboration with others. Her recent books include Innovation under the Radar (forthcoming), China's Path to Innovation, China’s Role in Global Economic Recovery and The Rise of Technological Power in the South. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, and serves on the editorial boards of Industrial and Corporate Change, International Journal of Technology Management, and four other international journals.

Nicholas Vonortas is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is a faculty member of the Department of Economics, of the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy, and of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. He is currently Senior Associate Dean at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

Professor Vonortas also holds a ‘São Paulo Excellence Chair’ in Technology and Innovation Policy at the University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. Just before the pandemic, he completed a Visiting Professorship at the Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University, Republic of China. He had also served for several years as a member of the Innovation Policy Forum of the U.S. National Academies of Science. He is editor of the academic journal Science and Public Policy. His teaching and research interests are in industrial organization, in the economics of technological change, and in technology and innovation policy and strategy. He specializes on strategic partnerships, innovation networks, investment under uncertainty, technology transfer, knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship, and R&D program evaluation. He has published widely on these issues.  

Professor Vonortas has held visiting appointments at several universities including the Tsinghua University (China), Korea University (Republic of Korea), University of Lund (Sweden), Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil), National Research University Higher School of Economics (Russian Federation), the University of Maastricht (Netherlands), Luigi Bocconi University (Italy), Athens University of Economics and Business (Greece), and National Technical University of Athens (Greece). He has served as a consultant to many government agencies in the United States, the European Union and several member countries, Brazil, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, and Japan as well as to several international organizations such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the United Nations.

Yannis Caloghirou is Emeritus Professor of Economics of Technology & Industrial Strategy at NTUA, former Director of the Laboratory of Industrial and Energy Economics (2015 – 2019) and former Director of the Department of Analysis, Development and Planning of Systems of Systems and Systems), Scientific Officer of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit of NTUA and the interdisciplinary team INFOSTRAG (Research Team for Technological, Economic and Strategic Analysis of the Information Society) operating within the Laboratory of Industrial and Energy Economics.

He is also a research partner in the Laboratory of Management and Optimal Network Design of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of NTUA. He has participated in the Council of the European Network of Excellence DIME (2005-2012) dealing with the effects of globalization and the emergence of the knowledge economy and was a member of the Scientific and Management Committee of the integrated large-scale research project (EU funded FP7 large-scale integrated project (2009-2012) on the interconnection of knowledge and innovation with entrepreneurship and economic growth. He is an evaluator of DG Research and Innovation European Research Programs and has chaired the Scientific Council of the National Documentation Center (2011-2014) and the Advisory Council for the Development of Public Information Technology administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2010-2011) as well as scientific advisor of KEDKE (2004-2012) for the formulation and implementation of a strategy for the utilization of information and communication technologies by the local government.

Sunil Mani is Director and Reserve Bank of India Chair Professor at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Trivandrum. Formerly, he was a member of the faculty and head of graduate studies at the United Nations University-Institute for New Technologies (now known as UNU-MERIT) at Maastricht in the Netherlands. He obtained his M. Phil and Ph.D. in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and has done postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford on a fellowship from the Ford Foundation, New York. He has held visiting professorships at Bocconi University – Milan, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies – Tokyo, and University of Toulouse – Jean Jaures. Currently, he is a member of the drafting committee for India’s new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020.

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