This theme aims to advance understanding of the complex structures, competences and interdependencies within modern technological, manufacturing and industrial systems. The implications for foresight analysis, industrial policy design and evaluation are explored.


New heuristics and industrial diagnostics, beyond conventional economic analysis, are needed for disentangling the complex architecture of industrial and economic systems, hierarchic in structure and inherently dynamic. They are developed through an ‘economics-engineering twist’ whereby both structural dynamics and systemic transformations are captured, at different levels of aggregation of production activities and according to different units of analysis.


A key focus of this research theme involves analysis of how particular configurations of value chains and manufacturing competencies (and the linkages between them) offer competitive industrial advantage. The functions of different types of technology and intermediate R&D institutions in innovation and industrial change are also explored. 


A key goal of the research is to develop, operationalise and pilot new tools for structural analysis of industrial systems and for effective industrial policy design. Rethinking industrial policy in action makes it necessary to identify competences responsible for industrial competitiveness as well as complementarities among production activities and technologies not readily revealed by conventional analyses.



Current projects


Opening the production black-box: sectors, production tasks and linkages

Integration of sectoral and intersectoral analysis of economic systems with the study of focal production tasks, difficult to do and difficult to reproduce. Particular emphasis on the underlying bundle of interlinked technological competences and capabilities responsible for industrial competitiveness.


Enabling infrastructural technologies and intermediate R&D institutions.

Characterising different types of technologies and  their interdependencies across sectors and industrial value chains. Contextualized and longitudinal investigation of different stylized models of intermediate R&D institutions such as the UK Catapults. 


Foresight analysis and Structural Mapping for Industrial Policy Design and Evaluation: An integrated framework

Rethinking the industrial policy process by framing foresight, policy design, implementation and evaluation within a coherent framework. Particular emphasis on policy selectivity, matching and alignment over time. 



Cross-theme Integrated Project


Industrial Landscape Analysis: Inside the ‘Black Box’ of Modern Manufacturing Systems

Exploring the trends and drivers influencing manufacturing systems; the challenges to firm competitiveness; the required manufacturing competencies and capabilities; and the implications for research & innovation priorities.

Share This