26-27 June 2023
Donostia-San Sebastián (SPAIN)

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Background and objectives

The Microeconomics of Competitiveness (MOC) Network celebrated its 20th Anniversary during the annual MOC workshop held at Harvard Business School in December 2022. As highlighted in the book published to mark this anniversary, MOC knowledge has generated important impacts in the Basque Country over these twenty years. Deusto University first taught an MOC Programme in 2003, and Orkestra was founded in 2006 as a dedicated competitiveness institute that continued to teach MOC programmes and has played a leading role in the research and engagement activities of the MOC network. To celebrate 20 years of MOC impact in the Basque Country and share knowledge that can guide the next steps in building sustainable territorial competitiveness through transformative research, Deusto University and Orkestra will host an international workshop. 

The objectives are to: 

  • Share and discuss what has been learned by Orkestra and other members of the MOC network (and beyond) about transformative research that can strength the competitiveness and wellbeing of territories.
  • Analyse the challenges (and solutions) facing research institutes, university departments and academics that want to do transformative research that impacts on the sustainable competitiveness in their territories.  

The workshop is built around contributions (papers or papers in progress) from both within and beyond the MOC network that respond to elements of two key questions related to the overall theme of building sustainable competitiveness futures through transformative research:

  • What for? What is territorial competitiveness? What will shape the competitiveness of territories in the future? How is territorial competitiveness related to sustainability? How is territorial competitiveness related to wellbeing?
  • How? How can we contribute as researchers to the sustainable competitiveness of our territories? Which strategies, methodologies, institutions and capabilities are needed to do transformative research related to territorial competitiveness in practice?  

Call for Papers

The analysis of territorial competitiveness has been influential since the 1990s, when frameworks emerged emphasising relationships between company performance and a range of factors in national or regional environments (OECD, 1992; Porter, 1990). A Porterian approach to analysing the ‘microeconomics of competitiveness’ underscores the competitiveness indices that are commonly used to benchmark countries and regions as a guide for economic development policy, and indeed provides a meeting ground for a range of other theories, including economic growth and development theories, institutional theories, and behavioural theories of regional development (Huggins and Thompson, 2017).

While such competitiveness frameworks are good at recognising the importance of territorial context and facilitating a nuanced understanding of the key characteristics of those contexts that impact on economic development, there is a pressing need to imbue analysis with directionality that goes beyond productivity and economic growth and reflects desirable end results of competitiveness (Aiginger and Firgo, 2017; Aranguren et al, 2021; Wilson, 2008). This need has become increasingly acute during recent years as focus has sharpened on the urgent need for economic development to be environmentally and socially sustainable. European industrial policy is now oriented firmly towards the green transition of industry (European Commission, 2019, 2021), and rising inequalities alongside the social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine are highlighting the scale of many social challenges that need to be addressed.

As businesses, governments and societies in general grapple with inter-twined processes of technological, social and green transition, it is widely acknowledged that universities, research institutes and individual academics have key roles to play in helping the territories where they are based navigate emerging challenges as part of their ‘third mission’ (Aranguren et al., 2021; Benneworth and Fitjar, 2019; Goddard and Puuka, 2008; Goddard et al, 2013; Laredo, 2007), supporting the construction of sustainable competitiveness futures. But what should those competitiveness futures look like? And what is needed to effectively develop research that is transformative and has real impact on those futures?

The workshop invites contributions (papers or papers in progress) from both within and beyond the MOC network that seek to respond to elements of two key questions related to the overall theme of building sustainable competitiveness futures through transformative research.

Process and deadline for proposals

Abstracts of 300-500 words, alongside title and names and affiliations of authors/participants, should be presented by Friday 14th April 2023. The submission form is avaliable below. 

A detailed workshop programme will be constructed from the submitted abstracts and communicated to participants to confirm their participation by Friday 28th April (to allow time to make travel and accommodation arrangements).

Cost and Logistical Details

There is no fee for participants who have been accepted to present a paper at the workshop. All coffee breaks and lunches will be provided by the hosts. However, participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.

The workshop will take place in Donostia – San Sebastián, which in addition to having its own small airport, is linked by easy public transport of around an hour to the larger Bilbao and Biarritz airports.
A list of suggested accommodation options will be provided to participants. 

Final agenda

Monday 26th June 2023 

09:30-10:30 | Welcome and introductions

  • Welcome to international workshop participants
    Iván Marten, President of Orkestra, and Xabier Riezu, Vice Chancellor of the San Sebastian Campus of the University of Deusto 
  • Contextualizing the Basque Competitiveness case and the role of Orkestra 
    Arantxa Tapia, Minister for Economic Development, Environment and Sustainability of the Basque Government
  • Competitiveness research in the context of the MOC network 
    Christian Ketels, Harvard Business School, and Jon Azua, promoter of the MOC program at the Basque Country and CEO of Enovatinglab

10:30-11:30 | Evolving meanings and analyses of competitiveness

  • How to measure shared value: An approach for practitioners and scholars
    Kenneth Charman (CamEd Business School) and Janet Tan (San Jose State University)
  • The Sustainable Competitiveness Factors Research between 1990-2022: A Systematic Literature Review
    Elisabeth Periera (University of Aviero)
  • Measuring strategic policies for sustainable competitiveness
    Mauricio Umana (Catholic University of El Salvador) & Pablo Nuño (Popular Autonomous University of Puebla)
  • Territorial Competitiveness for Wellbeing: A Framework for analysing the sustainable competitiveness of places
    Marijo Aranguren, Jorge Fernández, Susana Franco, Edurne Magro, Mikel Navarro & James Wilson (Orkestra & Deusto Business School, University of Deusto)

11:30 | Coffee Break

12:00-13:00 | The changing measurement and roles of clusters in contemporary territorial competitiveness analysis 

  • Spatial dimensions of territorial competitiveness: Using GIS to discover multi-dimensional cluster impacts
    Burke Murphy and Thomas Horan (University of Redlands School of Business & Society)
  • The impact of the US-China trade war and semiconductor shocks on Mexican clusters
    Alfonso Mendoza-Velázquez (Banco de México & IESDE School of Management) & Viviana Elizabeth Zárate Mirón (IESDE School of Management)

13:30 | Lunch

Afternoon | Unstructured time for informal meetings and discussions and/or exploring the city

17:30-19:00 | Celebration event (in Spanish) with alumni from 20 years of MOC programmes in the Basque Country, followed by social reception.


Tuesday 27th June 2023

09:30-10:00 | Welcome, recap and new thoughts on yesterday’s discussions.

10:00-11:30 | Pathways to environmentally sustainable competitiveness 

  • The role of science, technology, and innovation systems for sustainable competitiveness in LATAM
    Luciana Pagani (San Andres University)
  • Green innovation and competitiveness: Empirical evidence from Ecuadorian manufacturing
    Pablo Collazo (Viena University of Economics and Business)
  • Not everything is about technology: Investigating green innovation among clusters
    Massimo Riva, Federica Belfanti & Fernando Alberti (Institute for Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness - Italy)

11:30 | Coffee Break

12:00-14:00 | Exploring the contribution of research, researchers and research organisations to sustainable territorial competitiveness 

  • Territorial competitiveness, the interests of publics, and the influence of researchers
    Silvia Sacchetti (University of Trento) & Roger Sugden (University of British Columbia)
  • A route to transformative action research? Constructive development interiority
    Eleanor Doyle (Cork University Business School), Maria Coakley (Cork University Business School) & Sheila Butler (Munster Technological University)
  • Engaging for Sustainable Development and Transformation: Exploring the concept of Transformative Academic Institutions
    Patricia Canto-Farachala (Orkestra & Deusto Business School, University of Deusto), Madeline Smith (Glasgow School of Art) and Emily Wise (Lund University)
  • An exploratory systemic change framework for transformative research
    Marijo Aranguren, Patricia Canto & James Wilson (Orkestra & Deusto Business School, University of Deusto)

14:00 | Lunch

15:30-16:30 | Concluding discussion and building agendas and collaboration for the future

This final session will be structured around key questions that have emerged from the discussion over the previous two days and oriented towards articulating a ‘research and action’ agenda for tackling the challenges of conducting transformative research to build sustainable competitiveness. Expected outcomes include:

  • Ideas towards a strategy to develop the territorial competitiveness impacts of research institutes, university departments and individual academics through collaboration in the MOC network of the future
  • Foundations for preparing potential collaborative research projects
  • Discussion around the possibilities for a journal special issue featuring papers developed from ideas presented during the sessions (possibilities include Competitiveness Review and Deusto Business School’s Bulletin of Economic Studies)


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Call for papers (closed)



Download the PDF containing all the details about the call for papers and the deadline for proposals. 

Download Call for Papers




Confirm your participation through the following link. 

Registration form