In January 2019 the JRC started a novel institutional activity to use the tools of the Economic Complexity framework to help addressing policy relevant themes in territorial development and industrial innovation and competitiveness. Led by Units B3 (Territorial Development) and B5 (Circular Economy and Industrial Leadership), this activity brings together capacities and analyses competitiveness and innovation under the perspective of complexity, addressing questions of European policy relevance from three angles:
- (1) competitiveness of European industries,
- (2) innovation as a driver of industrial competitiveness, and
- (3) support to the Green Deal Policy Agenda (green complexity).
These areas are closely intertwined via the necessary resources (data, algorithms, techniques) and outputs: industry is a central part of the innovation system, and at the same time it is a driver of and driven by innovation, as well as key for the (green) industrial transformation. Economic Complexity is a natural continuation of earlier evolutionary and institutional economics, also building on advancements in network science and complex and dynamical systems to separate random noise present in large data sets from robust information. By doing so it allows shifting the focus of quantitative economic analysis toward research questions that are traditionally tackled either qualitatively or with ad hoc quantitative measures. The focus is on the non-linear complex coevolution of these components, to provide highly relevant inputs which complement the more conventional analyses on competitiveness and innovation across the JRC.