MIOIR Working Paper Series

A collection of working papers from across disciplines, covering a broad range of issues related to Innovation.

The MIoIR Working Papers Series publishes new studies relevant to the Institute's research themes:  

  • Innovation management; 
  • Sustainable innovation; 
  • Science, technology, and innovation policy; and 
  • Emerging technologies. 

The latest from the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research Working Paper series:


Working Paper 2023-01: Can scientists remain internationally visible after the return to their home country? A study of Chinese scientists - Ying Zhang, Cornelia Lawson, Liangping Ding

Returning scientists play a critical role in building up the academic workforce and science in their home country. Yet, in this study we argue that return mobility may limit scientists‟ international relevance and thus spillover effects may not be realised. We take scientists returning to China as a sample to investigate the impact of return mobility on international visibility/impact. What is more, we explore the roles of the international collaboration network and international knowledge base in this effect. Our findings clarify the limitation of return mobility and provide some empirical evidence on the limits of global knowledge spillovers in science and talent introduction policies.

Working Paper 2023-02: To acquire or not to acquire? Duration of due diligence in technology acquisitions - Xavier Castaner, Panos Desyllas, Huma Javaid, Orietta Marsili

Based on information economics and organizational learning literatures, we investigate how information asymmetry and uncertainty regarding the value of technological resources of target firms influence the due diligence process after an acquisition announcement is made by the acquirer. We study how information asymmetry between the acquirer and target firm captured by the technological distance between the two firms’ patent portfolio extends the due diligence process. Additionally, we study how uncertainty about target firms’ technological resources explained by the pending patent applications of target firms tends to prolong the duration of due diligence. Further, we argue that business similarity reduces information asymmetry between the acquirer and target firm and shortens the duration of due diligence. We test the predictions on a sample of acquisitions of privately held technology firms in the UK and find a significantly positive effect of targets’ pending patent applications on due diligence duration that is amplified by technological distance but reduced by business similarity. The findings of the study contribute to the M&A literature that higher information asymmetry and uncertainty lengthen the due diligence process of the acquirers when evaluating prospective target firms.

Working Paper 2023-03: Demand, Public Procurement and Transformation - Jakob Edler

In this article we want to explore the role of the state to influence and support the demand for innovation in the context of transformation with a triple focus. First, we discuss the importance of demand for innovation and transformation. Second, we elaborate the conceptual underpinning of state intervention on the demand side. This In doing so, we link the demand side interventions with both the transformation debate and the innovation based competitiveness of systems debate. We then zoom into the main focus of this discussion paper, public demand and public procurement practice for innovation and transformation as this is - or can be - a powerful lever to spur both transformation and innovation which is largely underexplored and underused. Here we differentiate different forms of public procurement as well as different functions it can play in different transformation contexts. Rather than elaborating individual instruments and measures to support procurement, which is done in many ways elsewhere, we conclude with a number of high level recommendation for policy and analysis in order to further a debate the value of which has been recognised, but yet which has not materialised in any serious policy strategies for procurement.

Working Paper 2023-04: The spatial and scalar implications of missions: Challenges and opportunities for policy - Elvira Uyarra, Kieron Flanagan, Iris Wanzenböck

In recent years, debates about innovation policy have highlighted a broader scope for action and a widening of the range of policy goals such policies are expected to (or might be expected to) address. Scholars and analysts have both detected but also advocated a shift from generic and primarily R&D-based innovation support measures towards a new (or third) ‗generation‘ of innovation policy - variously referred to as challenge-led, mission-orientated or transformative innovation policies. This new generation of innovation policy thinking is a response to major societal challenges such as climate change, migration, or food and energy security - the implication being that traditional innovation policies were either inadequate in response to or else uninterested in such challenges. A more targeted and challenge-oriented innovation policy should, it is argued, help to deliver desired, and not just more, innovations. This implies a more active role of the state in funding risk-taking activities and in creating - not just correcting - markets. This ‗normative turn‘ in innovation policy has also been observed in the design and implementation of regional policies, with a greater emphasis on the socio-ecological dimension of innovation, particularly in the context of the European Green Deal and the Innovation Strategies for Sustainability (S4). Whilst there is much agreement that bolder, more customised and directional policies are needed to tackle the societal challenges of our time, there is less consensus about how such policies should be implemented in practice.

Working Paper 2023-05: The Principles of Digital Transformation for Development (DX4D): Systematic Literature Review and Future Research Agenda - Richard Heeks, Bookie Ezeomah, Gianluca Iazzolino, Aarti Krishnan, Jaco Renken, Qingna Zhou

Given the growing salience of digital transformation within international development, this paper presents the results of a systematic literature review on “digital-transformation-for-development” (DX4D). Using a variety of different search terms, a corpus of 75 papers was analysed. This paper presents general features of the literature and the research designs used. The main analysis consists of 13 principles that can be used as a starting point to guide a better understanding and operationalisation of digital-transformation-for-development research and consulting. The paper ends with a brief outline of future DX4D research priorities.

Working Paper 2023-06Innovation-promoting impacts of public procurement - Elvira Uyarra, Oishee Kundu, Raquel Ortega-Argiles, Malcolm Harbour

The use of public procurement to advance innovation but also other social, environmental and public service delivery goals has been high in the innovation policy debate in the last two decades. Drawing from the literature on the economics of innovation and innovation policy, this paper provides an overview and critique of the key debates surrounding public procurement of innovation, specifically the rationales, means and challenges associated with its use as an innovation policy tool. We note that despite strong academic interest and policy activity in this area, strategic public procurement to promote innovation is still unevenly adopted. The evidence base is also weak in terms of the methods and data to understand its impact. We argue more research is needed to quantify the outcomes of procurement interventions in different national and sectoral contexts and their integration with other innovation policy instruments.

We welcome submissions from members of the Institute as well as from external authors who work in a relevant research area. Both work in progress and finalised research will be considered.