1) Inclusion in emerging agricultural clusters, 2) Regional innovation

PhD research projects
Supervisor: Matias Ramirez
Inclusion in emerging agricultural clusters
This project focuses specifically on the development of the innovation capabilities of a range of
small producers that have been hitherto marginalized from innovation processes. I have
undertaken past projects that specifically look at emerging clusters in agricultural sectors in
Colombia and Chile, where improving capabilities of small producers is essential both for the local
economy and more generally for the productive sector. Critical theoretical issues that arise include
the role of collective action (and collective goods) in inclusion, the structural properties of
networks in clusters and how these influence knowledge transfer and intermediation of extension
Clarke, I and Ramirez, M. (2014), (2013) Intermediaries and capability building in 'emerging
clusters'. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 32, (4) pp. 714-730
Ramirez, M. Bernal, P. Clarke, I. and Hernandez I., (2014), Distinguishing patterns of learning and
inclusion through the dynamics of network formation in developing agricultural clusters, SPRU
working paper series No.20, University of Sussex.
McDermott G, Corredoira R, Kruse G, (2009), “Public–private institutions as catalysts of upgrading
in emerging market societies” Academy of Management Journal, 52, pp. 1270–1296.
Fafchamps, M., (2007), Development and social capital, Journal of Development Studies, Vo. 42,
No7, p1180- 1198.
Regional innovation and development
Regional policy for innovation and building regional innovation systems is vastly challenging for
lower income countries because of the need to cater for the vast contrasts between urban and
rural capabilities, differences in human resources and levels of education (Altenberg and MeyerStammer 1999). This PhD project will acknowledge the importance of physical space for
agglomeration and can draw upon the rich work in amongst other areas including evolutionary
economic geography (Boschma and Frenken, 2009). However, the often localised nature of
interactions, the importance of access to export markets and the role of local intermediaries will
play a critical role.
Altenburg T and Meyer-Stamer J (1999), How to promote cluster: Policy experiences from Latin
America, World Development, 27, 1693- -1713.
Boschma R and Frenken K (2009), Some notes on institutions in evolutionary economic
geography, Urban and Regional Research Centre 82, 2. 151-158. 1996
Social networks and transitions
Systemic innovation and transitions necessary involves fundamental changes in the structures of
social networks. This can be expressed by the appearance of new coalitions of central actors, the
appearance of dynamic subcliques that undermine the established order, or niches that move from
the margins to the centre. This project will examine the dynamics of these transitions through
changes in the make-up and mix of social networks. It will examine the hypothesis that transition is
driven by heterogeneity of networks.
Granovetter, M (1973), the strength of weak ties, American Journal of Sociology, 78 (6), 1360-1380.
Burt, R. L., (1992), Structural Holes, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Walker, G. Kogut, B. and ShanSource, W., (1997). Social capital, structural holes and the formation
of an industry network, Organization Science, Vol. 8, No. 2 pp. 109-125.