IAS Fellow at Collingwood College, Durham University (January – March 2012)
Dr Pier Paolo Saviotti has degrees in Chemistry and in the social studies of science. After obtaining a PhD in Chemistry from MCGill University he taught in Universidad del Zulia, in Venezuela, before returning to study in the University of Manchester, where he obtained an MSc in Structure and Organization of Science and Technology. He subsequently taught in the Departments of Science and Technology Policy and of Economics of Manchester University. Since 1994 he has been Research Professor in the Grenoble unit of INRA, the National Institute of Agricultural Research of France, and in GREDEG CNRS in Sophia Antipolis. He has been Visiting Professor in the University of Jena (2002-2003) and in Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) in 2004 and in the University of Hohenheim in 2010-2011.
Saviotti is author of several publications about the economics of innovation. He has been working within evolutionary economics, a research tradition which emerged in the 1980s and to the foundation of which British institutions such as the Science and Technology Policy (SPRU) of the University of Sussex and the University of Manchester made very important contributions. His conception of evolutionary economics is very close to that of the emerging science of complexity. His main research interests have been the influence of innovation on long run patterns of economic evolution and the mechanisms by means of which firms and organizations create and use knowledge. In particular, since the 1990s he has been investigating the role played by the growing differentiation of economic systems in long run economic development. The basic intuition that countries or regions differentiate in the course of economic development has recently started to find increasing support in the literature. These ideas were first published in 1996 in the book Technological Evolution, Variety and the Economy, which was awarded the 1997 Gunnar Myrdal Prize of the European Association of Evolutionary Political Economics (EAEPE),
Dr Saviotti has served in the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Evolutionary Economics, of Innovation and Development and in the Board of Trustees of the Journal of Institutional Economics. He is a member of the European Association of Evolutionary Political Economics (EAEPE), of the Lisbon Civic Forum and is Vice President of the International Schumpeter Society. He has authored reports on innovation and on biotechnology for the European Commission and for OECD.
During his time at the IAS, Dr Saviotti will be working on the concept of exaptation and writing a book, together with Pierpaolo Andriani and Peter Allen, on the dynamics of diversity and its relationship to exaptation.