This research line has, since the beginning, strongly marked the activities of the IN-SAT Laboratory. Several scholars from Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and the University of Pisa, from different disciplines (Business Administration, Innovation Management, Political Science, Economic Geography, Engineering, etc.) have been studying clusters of high-tech firms and the dynamics which characterise the growth and sometimes the failure of areas (both provinces and regions) with relevant resources in terms of science and technology. It has also been studied whether areas which are not rich in S&T can adopt knowledge-based strategies for their strategic plans.
Several theoretical approaches as well as different methodological approaches have been adopted in various periods, ranging from the collection of data to the design of indicators, from interviews with companies to discussion panels and focus groups. A major concern has been that of sharing research activities with policy makers. The project leaders have taken part in European research groups which have produced the document "Constructing Regional Advantage", inspired by Prof. Phil Cooke. They are also active members of the Regional Science Association.
An example of the activities developed at the regional level is the Observatory of High-tech Firms in Tuscany and the setting up of the BIT data base which can be used to build indicators and benchmarks about innovative activities in Italy.