At the Department of Economic Geography, the research focus is generally on theory-based and applied economic geography, focusing on issues of short to long-term economic and regional change. Here we apply an evolutionary theoretical approach. The research focuses on the areas of evolutionary economic geography, transformation research and industrial change as well as research on border regions.
Evolutionary Economic Geography. Evolutionary economic geography is one of the youngest and most dynamic research fields in economic geography and has potential links to many areas of human geography. It has interdisciplinary points of contact, e.g. to evolutionary economics, organizational sociology and psychology or economic history. In recent years, in the context of evolutionary economic geography, we have intensively dealt with the research field of organizational routines and, in this context, advanced the conceptualization and theorization of the concept of organizational routines. After fundamental theoretical work and publications on this topic, we are currently working on empirical studies on long-term changes in organizational routines and the resulting organizational innovations or effects on regional change.
Transformation Research and Industrial Change. The research focus of our research group is based on a modernized conceptual understanding of transformation based primarily on evolutionary approaches. The focus is on the exploration of economic change at various scale levels. A focus is on the analysis of transformation processes in the context of the transition to a service and knowledge economy, as well as on investigations of economic crisis phenomena. In doing so, we intentionally delineate ourselves from a more classical understanding of transformation over the past 20 years, which was confined to systemic change in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Nevertheless, Eastern Europe, with its manifold transformations, forms an important spatial framework for our research, focusing on issues of systemic structural change, competitiveness, the political-economic framework conditions and the transformation-immanent peculiarities.
Research on border regions. Although research on borders and border regions is one of the classic topics of geographic research, in recent decades it has benefited little from innovative concepts of neighboring disciplines. Interdisciplinarity is therefore of great importance in this field of research. At the center of our research are e.g. the study of the formation of cross-border governance structures and the importance of "regional enthusiasts" for the development of cross-border links.
The regional focus of our work is on the one hand in the former transition states of Central and Eastern Europe (Poland and the Baltic States), but on the other hand also in East Germany. A third regional research focus is in East and Southeast Asia. The head of the working group is a member of the Herder Research Council, the Presidium of the German-Polish Textbook Commission and the European Center for Research on Federalism.