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Elizabeth Garnsey

College positions:
Emeritus Fellow
Political Economy, Technology
Centre for Technology Management, Department of Engineering, Institute for Manufacturing
Contact details:

Dr Elizabeth Garnsey

Educated in Geneva, Dr Garnsey majored in economics at Oxford and completed a master’s degree and PhD (1975) in political economy at the University of California. Her doctoral research revealed the inability of the Soviet system to foster economic innovation.

The rise of Silicon Valley while she was a student in California led to her interests in technological innovation. From 1975 she was a Research Fellow at New Hall, Cambridge, then a member of the Department of Applied Economics at Cambridge University, carrying out commissioned research for the OECD, ILO and EU. She was a consultant to the Equal Opportunities Commission of the European Commission in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1985 she was appointed to a lectureship in the Manufacturing and Management Division of the Engineering Faculty and was a member of the team that set up the Judge Business School at Cambridge.

Since 1995 she has been a University Reader at the Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing. From 2000-02 she was seconded to SJIC, the leading tech business incubator in Cambridge, advising tech businesses on scaling up issues. Her recent research papers address the role of new entrant firms in the emergence of technologies in advanced materials, pharmaceuticals and in environmental innovations. She explores applications of complexity theory to her research fields.

Dr Garnsey was Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore in 2010 and has been a guest lecturer in China, Australia, Malaysia, US and Europe. She has advised governments in South Africa, Australia and Malaysia, and the Bank of England and UK Treasury, on technology transfer and innovation policy and been an Expert Witness at Parliamentary Committees of the House of Commons and House of Lords. Her outreach work includes being a Trustee of Camfed, which supports girls’ education in Africa, and advising on new business models for social enterprise.

Select publications

  • Capital Accumulation and the Division of Labour in the Soviet Union, Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 6 no. 1, pp 15-31 (1982)
  • Industrial Change and Women’s Employment; trends in the new international division of labour. Monograph, International Institute for Labour Studies, with Paukert L. (1987)
  • A theory of the early growth of the firm, Industrial and Corporate Change Vol 7 vol 3. (1998)
  • High tech locations and globalisation; converse paths, common processes, International Journal of Technology Management, 336-355 with Longhi C., (2004)
  • Complexity and Co-evolution; continuity and change in socio-economic systems, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 219 pp. 523-556 , with McGlade J. (2006)
  • High Tech Clustering through Spin Out and Attraction; the Cambridge Case, Regional Studies, Vol. 39.8, pp. 1127-1144, with Heffernan P ( 2005)
  • Reconstructing the Economy through New Forms of Manufacturing-Service Innovation; Chapter 14 of Rebalancing the British Economy, edited by Tristram Hunt, Civitas London (2013)
  • Policy-driven ecosystems for new vaccine development, Technovation Volume 34, Issue 12, , pp 762–772 with Li J. (2014)
  • Editors’ Introduction to Technovation, Issue on Opportunity Recognition and Creation, Technovation Volumes 39-40 with Hang CC (2015)

Further links