Fox, Harvard and MIT professors earn
federal grant to advance research on innovation clusters
assistant professor Mercedes Delgado, along with a team of Harvard and MIT
researchers, has earned a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s
Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help policymakers more effectively
tap into regional innovation clusters that drive economic growth.
describes clusters as “geographic
agglomerations of companies, suppliers, service providers and associated
institutions in a particular field.” Information technology in Silicon Valley,
processed food in Chicago and financial services in New York are examples of
A member of
Fox’s Department of Strategic Management, Delgado has worked on the project
with Harvard professor Michael E. Porter and MIT professors Scott Stern and Fiona
Murray. Within the last year, Delgado’s “Clusters and Entrepreneurship” study
with Porter and Stern was published in the Journal
of Economic Geography and was mentioned in a July 2010 article in the Financial Times.
“Our team has been working on clusters and regional development for years,”
Delgado said, “from Porter’s pioneer cluster work in the 1990s and 2000s to
more recent evidence on the role of clusters in regional economic performance
by colleagues and myself.”
Delgado first researched industry clusters for her master’s thesis.
This initial work – which examined “the relationship between a country’s
cluster environment and the innovation strategies of the companies in that
country” – caught Porter’s eye, and Delgado soon began post-doctoral work at
Harvard Business School. Today, she is a senior associate for Harvard’s
Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness.
and her colleagues received the grant in September 2010, they’ve met with the
EDA to discuss their proposal and its potential to assist in formulating policy
strategies for cluster-driven job creation and innovation in the United States.
Academic and practitioner groups met recently to outline tools needed to identify market and
innovation opportunities in regional clusters.
The next step
will be improving and expanding the data and methods of Harvard’s Cluster
Mapping Project database. Delgado and her colleagues will use the improved data
to “examine new research questions on the dynamics of clusters and
entrepreneurship,” she said.