Australian Innovation Research Centre

Innovation Systems and Economic Development


Innovations do not occur in isolation; they are developed and diffused in environments characterised by specific organisations, institutions, regulations, skills, knowledge and expertise. These environments can best be understood as an 'innovation system' in which multiple actors across government, industry, universities and broader communities interact to produce and diffuse innovations.   

Different systems and actors influence the relationship between innovation and economic development. Three key systems perspectives inform the study of innovation and underpin much of the AIRC's research and policy advice:

  • Regional innovation systems
  • Sectoral/technological systems
  • National systems

Led by Professor Anthony Arundel with all AIRC researchers active in the area, this research theme recognises that innovation happens in different ways under different systemic conditions. It covers various policy relevant research topics including:

  • System characteristics that shape innovation activity and performance and inform policy development
  • How innovation in key Tasmanian industries supports the State's economic performance and development
  • Opportunities for innovation based diversification in Tasmania
  • Understanding the relative characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the Australian innovation System
  • The role of different modes of learning and innovation
  • Skills, innovation modes and firm performance
  • Innovation capability development

Potential students interested in working in these areas should email: or