The core mission of MEDAlics is derived from the original GLOBElics mission, in that it seeks to create a global network of academics who apply the theoretical framework of the ‘systems of innovation and competence building’ approach to the analysis of economies in the Mediterranean region.
The idea of MEDAlics comes from the research of Massimiliano Ferrara and Roberto Mavilia on « Knowledge flows in the Mediterranean Area » published on African Journal of Science, Technology Innovation and Development (Vol. 2-3 / 2009). This study looks at the Innovation Systems in the Mediterranean and analyses the region in terms of its innovative capacity.
It is evident that generally the development of the Mediterranean economies has lagged behind those of other macro-regional economies. The weakness of the knowledge systems of the diverse economies is common across all of the Mediterranean, in spite of the different regional affiliations of the various economies. The common structural elements which may explain this development lag include, among other factors, the fragmentation of the productive industries and the lack of innovation, perhaps due to insufficient stimuli and incentives. Numerous other explanatory factors have to be examined but what is clear is that both endogenous and exogenous drivers in the Mediterranean territories are needed to shift the current development trajectory.
The MEDAlics project aims at investigating the various aspects of the Mediterranean region from an innovation systems perspective. The fundamental question which is posed, and which will continue to be posed, is the Mediterranean constitutes an identifiable unit of analysis within an innovation systems analytical framework. Here we counterpoise the long common and interlinked histories of the modern countries which lie on, or in, the Mediterranean with the modern reality of a fragmented region with differing languages, cultures, and institutional and economic systems. The membership of the European countries of the Mediterranean in the EU bloc also poses one of the more evident differentiating factors in this region. This then is the problematic, whose various complex aspects will form the basis of the long term inter-disciplinary research agenda of MEDAlics, i.e. whether and how a Mediterranean system of innovation can be constructed as a logical and empirically justifiable concept. If, as we believe, it can then it could also prove to be a useful tool to address the range of development challenges which the region faces.
Among the focal areas of research in the MEDAlics programme, we can list catching-up strategies, human capital, foreign direct investment, innovation policy and endogenous innovation. The Mediterranean area presents a geographical area which is marked by vast diversities and asymmetries among its constituent countries and regions and this is one topic which will be explored. Simultaneously, the commonalities will also be brought to the fore in the ongoing research programme aimed at mapping the Mediterranean system(s) of innovation. The complex sets of relations between local, national, regional and global systems of innovation will also form a significant component of the MEDAlics programme.
The establishment of MEDAlics marks the foundation of what will become a novel reference point in the area of Mediterranean studies.