MIOIR working paper series

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

The MIoIR working paper 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 2024-01Digital transformation in firms: determinants of technology adoption and implications for performance - Silvia Massini, Mabel Sanchez Barrioluengo, Xiaoxiao Yu, Reza Salehnejad

Advanced digital technologies (DTs) such as AI, Big Data, Cloud Computing, 3D printing, IoT, and Robotics are known for their potential to be pervasive and generate disruptive change. Despite this, there is limited evidence regarding the factors that motivate or hinder technology adoption. This study, based on an original survey of firms in Greater Manchester, aims to shed light on the determinants of DT adoption, including underlying motivations, potential barriers, and skills deficits. Additionally, it explores the influence of digitalisation and skills on firms‘ performance. Our results suggest that while different DTs are at varying stages of technology diffusion, they are characterised by complementarity and are often jointly adopted. Furthermore, the adoption of DTs in SMEs and younger firms, coupled with the presence of appropriate (digital and non-digital) skills, constitutes a pivotal synergy that significantly influences firms' productivity levels.

Working Paper 2024-02: Joseph Schumpeter, Alfred Marshall and the Nature of Restless Capitalism - Stan Metcalfe

The Swedish Schumpeter Lecture 2022 On Knowledge and Economic Transformation: Joseph Schumpeter, Alfred Marshall and the Nature of Restless Capitalism. Incepted in 2011, the Swedish Schumpeter Lecture is an annually recurring series of talks organised by Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum. Contribution to the series provide advanced treatment of scholarship about the entrepreneur, the entrepreneurship function and its role for economic development. The lecture series is named in honour of Joseph Schumpeter, the scholar who pioneered a view of the entrepreneur as the central driving force of a dynamic economy. The lecture series brings together contemporary contributions to Schumpeterian research themes. Lectures are given by leading scholars, with comments provided by representatives from academia, business and politics.

Working Paper 2024-03: UK Levelling Up R&D Mission Effects: A Multi-Region Input-Output Approach - Huanjia Ma, Raquel Ortega-Argiles, Matthew Lyons

This paper examines the UK implications for regional and national growth associated with different geographical investment patterns of publicly-funded R&D, in the light of the recommendations of the 2022 Levelling Up White Paper, aimed at balancing the national economy. The White Paper outlines twelve main "missions" focused on science, technology, and education to achieve this goal. One of these missions aims to increase domestic public Research and Development (R&D) by at least 40% outside the Greater South East (GSE) by 2030. We develop three scenarios based on different assumptions about extra R&D allocation. We use data from UKRI and ONS to determine the current distribution of R&D investment in the UK, and then using the multi-regional Socio-Economic Impact Model for the UK we evaluate our three proposed R&D spending scenarios. Our findings suggest that the regional impact varies significantly across the different proposed scenarios. The scenario that allocates more GERD to areas with previously low funding levels yields the largest effect. On average, output, employment and GVA in regions outside GSE increase by 0.33%, 0.37% and 0.34%, respectively, showing a potentially positive effect on the levelling up of R&D in the country. Our analysis of both internal and external multipliers highlights the importance of investing in regional redistribution. We demonstrate that the GSE is more self-sufficient as it has much higher internal multipliers than the rest of the UK. However, we identified a potential obstacle: the capacity to absorb human capital, which could reduce the expected positive results of a more spatially balanced R&D expenditure across the UK.


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.

Author guidelines

Submitting a working paper

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. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure that submissions do not breach copyright laws.

Please submit your paper to: mioir.wp@manchester.ac.uk

Should you have any questions regarding the submission process or the suitability of your paper for the MIoIR working paper series, please contact a member of the editorial board.

the series' Editorial Board: Dr. Shukhrat Nasirov; Dr. Mabel Sánchez-Barrioluengo; Prof. Elvira Uyarra.

Submission checklist

  • Submission Format: MS Word, Adobe PDF
  • Include an abstract: 100-300 words (concise, informative and easily understood by non-experts).
  • Include Key words: 3-6 key words.
  • Include Author information: Full name, affiliation, contact details, a short biography
  • Include acknowledgments (if necessary).
  • Formatting: Arial, 12pt, double line spacing.
  • Visual information: graphs or tables inserted as images into the document (where required).
  • Referencing: the Harvard style
  • Paper length: 10,000 words or 40 pages (whichever is satisfied).
  • Writing style: Please use British spelling - set your Word document to ‘English (UK)’.
  • Please note that all papers will be published as submitted, with the MIoIR working paper series cover page added.

Submission process

  1. Each submitted paper is subject to a screening process by the series' Editorial Board to determine: (i) whether it is relevant to the Institute's research themes and (ii) whether the paper complies with the series' submission requirements.
  2. The screening process usually takes up to 10 working days. The decision on whether to publish the paper as part of the MIoIR working paper series is based on satisfying the above requirements and made by the series' Editorial Board unanimously.
  3. Upon completing the screening process, a member of the series' Editorial Board will contact the author(s) to inform them about the paper's acceptance for publication or whether the paper needs further adjustments (e.g., linking it better to the Institute's research themes; complying with the MIoIR working paper series'submission requirements).
  4. the series' Editorial Board reserves the right to desk-reject the paper or to reject it after screening if the paper is deemed to not meet the MIoIR working paper series' requisite criteria.
  5. We advise the submitting authors to ensure that making their paper part of the MIoIR working paper series does not jeopardise their chances to publish the paper in a peer-reviewed journal. This varies across journals, so please check the targeted journal if there are any relevant requirements.
  6. Doctoral students who wish to publish their paper in the MIoIR Working Papers Series are required to have an email of support from their supervisor included in the submission pack.
  7. All papers accepted for publication in the MIoIR working paper series will be published under the CC BY-SA 4.0 terms.