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AHRC/ESRC UK Japan Connections Grant 2019

Entrepreneurial and Innovation Ecosystems in the UK and Japan – Place-based scenarios and options



Our broad aim is to develop the capacity of local policymakers to build entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems by focusing on possible scenarios and options for place-based innovation and entrepreneurial policies. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's 

About Us


Internationally, the ecosystem concept is used as a tool by policymakers to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across city-regions. By building a partnership between the research and policy communities in the two countries, the researchers aim to critically examine and further develop the concept of “entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems” by engaging with policy user communities.

The UK and Japanese academic team consists of members from Universities of Aston, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Sheffield; Universities of Hitotsubashi, Tohoku, Toyo, Waseda and the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), bringing international experiences from a diverse range of city-region and regional perspectives. The project team will build on collaborative relationship with partners in the UK and Japan, and engage with policy and business communities cross-nationally. 

The partnership will also include institutional collaborations with the Japan Local Government Centre (JLGC) in London, and the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), who as knowledge partners will jointly add value through dissemination and engaging networks of practice.

About the Project

This programme of activities has been shaped by groups of academics, both in the UK and Japan, who share expertise in local and regional development with strong policy connections in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. Supported through the Fund for International Collaboration (FIC), from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), a series of international workshops will be organised during 2019.

Project members and collaboration

UK -   Fumi Kitagawa & Ben Spigel (University of Edinburgh);

             Colin Mason & Michaela Hruskova (University of Glasgow);

             Hiro Izushi (Aston University);

             Tim Vorley & Chay Brooks & Cristian Gherhes (University of  


             Dan Prokop & Robert Huggins (Cardiff University);

    in collaboration with

            Andrew Stevens (JLGC) and

            Jonathan Potter (OECD).


Japan - Koichi Sumikura (GRIPS);

               Hiroyuki Okamuro (Hitotsubashi University);

               Kanetaka Maki (Waseda University);

               Michi Fukushima (Tohoku University);

               Akio Nishizawa (Toyo University);

   in collaboration with

              Nobuhiko Hibara (Waseda University) and

              Masahiro Kotosaka (Keio University);

   supported by

              the JST-RISTEX "Star Scientists and Innovation in

              Japan" programme.

Key audience

Three key audiences will be targeted:

1.       Policymakers and practitioners – working with local policymakers and practitioners, we will identify the nature of diverse place-based entrepreneurial and innovation policies and appropriate methodologies for their evaluation;

2.       Those particularly interested in fostering support infrastructures surrounding the ecosystems – we engage with business support organisations (e.g. incubators, accelerators, SME business advisors) to identify factors for entrepreneurial growth in specific places given different national contexts and socio-economic environments; and

3.       Those interested in the theory and practices of ecosystem concepts – we critically evaluate the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems as a conceptual and policy framework to be adapted in different national contexts.


For further details, contact:  

Dr Fumi Kitagawa

University of Edinburgh Business School

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