Heninger Distinguished Professor, UNC Department of Public Policy
Maryann P. Feldman is the Heninger Distinguished Professor in the UNC Department of Public Policy. Her research and teaching interests focus on the areas of innovation, the commercialization of academic research and the factors that promote technological change and economic growth. Since 2014, Feldman has held a joint appointment at the National Science Foundation as the Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) Program Director. Feldman is also an editor of the journal Research Policy and currently chairs an interagency working group on science policy. She was the winner of the 2013 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research for her contributions to the study of the geography of innovation and the role of entrepreneurial activity in the formation of regional industry clusters. Her dissertation “Geography of Innovation” examined the spatial distribution of industrial innovation and provided an empirical model of the factors and resources that affected the production of new product innovation. This publication is noted to be the first time that the term “geography” was used to describe spatial phenomenon and is now an accepted lexicon. Currently, the geography of innovation is a subject area under the strategy division of the Academy of Management.
Feldman’s early work revealed that universities were necessary, but not sufficient, for technology-based economic development. These findings launched a new area of investigation into university technology transfer. She has written extensively on the process and mechanics of the commercialization of academic research. Her most recent work explores emerging industries, entrepreneurship and the process of regional transformation – topics covered in the edited book “Cluster Genesis”: the origins of technology-based economic development. Feldman has written extensively on the early development and growth of biotechnology, as an example of a transformative technology. In 2010, she completed a study of the industrial applications of optical science, which demonstrated typologies of places that were able to sustain industrial optics through a variety of economic development strategies.
While at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, she worked with Roger Martin, a former director of Monitor Company on a series of papers that examine jurisdictional advantage and how places construct unique, not easily replicated, economic advantage. Currently, Feldman is actively engaged in researching the industrial genesis of the Research Triangle region in a joint project with Nichola Lowe. The project follows the development of the regional economy over a 50 year time period using a unique database of 3,200 entrepreneurial ventures and attempts to understand the institutional dynamics that created a vibrant regional economy. This research approach is being replicated in other entrepreneurially active regions including: Sophia Antipolis, France; Austin, TX; and Chatanooga, TN. She is a prolific writer whose work appears in numerous journals, including: Management Science, Organization Science, Research Policy, The Journal of Technology Transfer, American Economic Review, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Economic Geography, and The Brookings Papers on Economic Policy.