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Göteborgs universitet


Aktuella forskningsprojekt.

The role of demand in new regional industrial path development - the food industry in transformation

Hanna Martin & Roman Martin
The Swedish Research Council FORMAS 2017–2020

This project deals with the role of demand (i.e. consumers and customers) in regional transformation processes, especially focusing on the transformation of the food sector towards environmentally friendly production. The food sector faces the need to renew its production system in order to cope with climate change and environmental pressures. Theory building departs from accounts on regional industrial path development and regional innovation systems, as well as the work on sociotechnical transitions. Empirically, we focus on two Swedish regions – Scania and Värmland. We combine quantitative and qualitative techniques – a large scale survey among food companies and in-depth case studies of innovation processes of environmentally friendly food products. The project will break new ground in research on regional transformation of mature industries and will inform policies seeking to promote industrial renewal via demand conditions.

The Globalization of R&D in Multinational Enterprises: A Need of New Theoretical Explanations

Inge Ivarsson & Claes G. Alvstam
The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences 2015-2019

In earlier research, we have shown that the large multinational enterprises (MNEs) in Sweden probably are more globalised than similar MNEs from other countries. They have now the majority of sales, production and employment outside Sweden, where especially the emerging markets in Asia have become important. These geographical shifts are also visible in the R&D activities, where half of their investments now are made abroad, including in Asia and other emerging markets. The aim of the present study is to analyse the driving mechanisms behind this new trend of R&D globalisation in MNEs, where foreign R&D units increasingly are involved in the development of new technology for global, regional and local markets, rather than in their traditional role to locally adapt the parent corporations existing technology, and where co-location with manufacturing units is a main locational determinant. Together with increasing acquisitions of companies with specialised competence, this results in a more decentralized location pattern of the R&D units among MNEs. Of special interest will be to analyse how this effects the strategically important R&D the MNEs traditionally carry out in their home country. A study of how Swedish MNEs have globalized their R&D will generate internationally unique knowledge. The overall aim with the study is to generate new empirical and theoretical knowledge within a new research area, with relevance also for decision makers in the private and public sectors.

Strategic Renewal in Swedish Industry

Claes Göran Alvstam, Martin Henning, Inge Ivarsson, Richard Nakamura and Ramsin Yakob
Sweden's Innovation Agency 2017-2019

One of the key questions related to the development of the Swedish industry is related to firms' capacity for renewal. Since Sweden is a home base of many multinational companies, as well a location for many foreign owned affiliates, the renewal of the Swedish industry is also closely related to the question whether these multinational companies find Sweden attractive for their future strategic investments. In this project we aim to empirical analyse firm renewal in large companies, mainly within the manufacturing sector and related firms within the advanced knowledge intensive business service sector. We plan to analyse the renewal processes both within individual firms, as well as how this is part of their external relations with customers, suppliers and other business partners within local and global value chains. Of special interest will be an analysis of how firms' renewal will affect their geographical location of core operations, such as research and development and major production operations, as well as strategic decision making units for new or expanded divisions and business areas. This, in turn, also need a greater understanding of how firms' future strategic decisions are influenced by the availability of local resources, e.g. human capital, infrastructure and industrial policy.

Time, Temporality and Speed of Firm Internationalization

Mikael Hilmerson, with colleagues at Uppsala University and Mid Sweden University
Jan Wallanders and Tom Hedelius stiftelse, Handelsbanken, 2015-2019

Ever since the first reports of Born-global firms were published, speed of firm internationalization has come to occupy a central position in the debate about the validity of traditional internationalization theories. Addressing this debate, we seek to extend knowledge about internationalization speed, its determinants and potential outcomes. Based on theories on resource accumulation, e.g. time compression diseconomies and learning advantage of newness, hypotheses are developed and confronted with data collected on site at 200 Swedish, 200 Chinese, and 150 Polish firms.

Swedish regional economic change and transformation

Martin Henning and researchers at Lund University
Länsförsäkringar Alliance Research Foundation, 2018-2020

Since the 1980s, the economic gaps between the Swedish regions have increased dramatically. Now, the regional inequality is back to the same levels as in the 1930s, from being at its lowest in the 1980s. At the same time, the structural transformation towards the service economy and new technologies, such as increasing automation, affect jobs around the country.
Structural transformation is nothing new, and groundbreaking technologies have been introduced in the economy earlier. These historical developments also affected regional change. So how do we understand today's change, from a historical regional perspective? What will the new trends towards structural change and technological development mean for regional development? Can today's regional gaps be explained by different geographical conditions? Or are they the result of historical institutions and policy initiatives?
The research project meets these issues by studying regional growth in the long term in Sweden, and in international comparison. Historically, the project compares the long-term effects of geographical conditions and natural resources, with the effects of infrastructure investments and institutional conditions. The project takes a long-term approach by creating historical time series and identifying important factors for regional growth. We focus in particular on whether policy interventions lead to growth in the short and long term, but also how this growth is distributed regionally and how these patterns are affected and interact with more evolutionary technological and structural changes. In a world that is increasingly dominated by short-term analyzes, the historical perspective can provide deeper knowledge and broaden the regional debate.