Innovation and technological change are key drivers of globalization, even in times when political support for globalization seems to be weakening. Recent years have seen increasing globalization of R&D and a shift of knowledge-intensive activities from industrialized to emerging countries. This development is amplified by the rise of the digital economy and the increasingly collaborative nature of innovation. As knowledge is crucial for growth, competitiveness, and employment, global shifts in the production and flows of knowledge lead to an associated global shift in wealth. Against this backdrop, the Research Area seeks to gain a better understanding of the determinants of knowledge creation, diffusion, and knowledge-based growth—and their interrelation with globalization—in industrialized and emerging economies.
Core research themes include the challenges of digitalization, the changing locations of innovative activity, and the interrelation between firm internationalization and innovation. Findings show, for example, that incremental product innovation has a positive and immediate impact on exports, whereas more radical innovation takes longer to affect them. Conversely, exporters are more likely to adopt green innovation than non-exporters. Research into new innovation patterns in China shows that the country still lags behind in terms of genuine innovation and faces substantial (and increasing) interregional differences with regard to higher education, R&D, and innovation output.
The Research Area has successfully applied for funding from the DFG, EU, and BMBF and plays an important role in the new Kiel Centre for Globalization. These grants have enabled the Research Area to recruit several highly-talented young researchers and to expand its scope to include new global challenges, such as the socio-economic consequences of the Internet, user innovation, and digital transformation.