Domains of research expertise
SET Change and its related graduate and undergraduate curricula draw upon an extensive portfolio of analytical studies by Carnegie Mellon University researchers. Their work employs tools of the social sciences and humanities, especially economics and history, in a close and continuing dialogue with science and engineering to deepen understanding of technological change. This work focuses on technological change and innovation as engines that create not only enterprises but also entire industries. Encompassing many hundreds of published works, the interdisciplinary research portfolio emanating from the SET Change faculty illuminates several broad areas of investigation.
Origins of firms and sources of performance
Carnegie Mellon researchers have cultivated a rich area of inquiry to interpret the sources of technological change and innovation within firms, which cause the formation of fast-growing industries. They have studied technology-driven growth among in many industrial sectors, including producers of semiconductors, software and automobiles, investigations that identify new ways of thinking about how technological change forces the spinning-off of enterprises to form new industries.
Drawing upon empirical analysis of the behaviors of individual firms, the topic opens new insights into the ways in which technological change triggers the formation and demise of enterprises, affects industrial output, prices and rates of production and innovation. This research interprets the effects of seemingly small-scale factors within firms, which produce large-scale changes within dynamic industries. Such studies offer new insights into policies that encourage the formation of innovative firms and deepen understanding of opportunities for building creative relationships among the incumbent firms of technology-driven industries.
Nature and organization of research & development
This scholarship places special emphasis on the organizational underpinnings of technological innovation through the examination of research structures and approaches to the management of proprietary interests in science and engineering. These studies analyze various models for the sponsorship and governance of scientific and engineering activities. They probe the question of how large organizations create the conditions for innovation. This research examines the management of large-scale Research & Development within science-based industries, such as chemicals.
This area of concentrated studies also examine the development of manufacturing technology, the automation of manufacturing systems and the influences and effects of large-scale systems of technological change and innovation on relationships between the economies of nations. Carnegie Mellon University researchers have investigated the management of research and development activities from the standpoint of multiple regional and national approaches, including the experience of Asian industries as technology innovators, with special emphasis on Japanese models, and developing as well as developed nations. The scope of this research encompasses the history of thinking about the economics of R&D and the creation of analytical tools to assess and guide policies affecting technological change across industries and national economies.
Research universities and the commercialization of knowledge
Intellectual property and foreign investment
Market structures and geographic clusters
The interdisciplinary collaboration of SETChange scholars in engineering and science with colleagues in the social sciences also produces research into the influence of technological innovation on issues of environmental regulation. This scholarship takes a close look at technological change's influence on regulation of automotive emissions controls and the social costs of emissions testing while also investigating technological approaches to regulatory compliance.