An interview with new CIMR member Dr Fumi Kitagawa

Dr Fumi Kitagawa (University of Edinburgh) has joined CIMR as a visiting fellow from June 2022. To celebrate Fumi joining us, we have asked her a few questions about her research interests, impact, plans for the future, including her engagement with CIMR.

Could you please tell us a bit about your research interests and your key contributions to knowledge and practice?

My research areas encompass urban and regional development, Science, Technology, and Innovation policies, higher education policy and knowledge exchange. Key research questions have centred on how public science generates impact on economy and society; in particular, the role of higher education institutions in regional development through innovation and entrepreneurial processes. 

What do you see as the main impacts of your work outside academia?

I have been working across a range of academic and policy-relevant research topics. Recently, I led an international project funded by the UKRI – “Entrepreneurial and Innovation Ecosystems in the UK and Japan – Place-based scenarios and options” connecting academic and policy communities, particularly local governments, internationally.

At the University of Edinburgh, I have been co-leading a series of studies on Data-Driven Innovation and inclusive growth, working closely with local authorities in the context of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

The main benefits of these studies are the working and collaborative relationships with the local authorities in a variety of contexts – local and international. In terms of the main impacts of my work outside academia, I hope that the studies will guide future policy making and help decision-making in some way, but I am also aware that impacts may take long time to realise, and it is not always easy to see these linkages.

I have also worked on several international projects as an international expert, including the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, and the OECD/European Commission HE Innovate. These have provided great opportunities to share and exchange international good practices, with critical and comparative perspectives.

What are your plans for the future?

I am interested in further developing my work with local policy communities, for example, focusing on the issues related to local governance, multi-level governance, and devolution. I am also interested to continue working on data-driven innovation and inclusive growth agenda across different geography. I am also interested in continuing my work on the roles of universities in the local and regional contexts, particularly in the areas related to (social) innovation and entrepreneurship policies.

How do you hope to benefit from your engagement with CIMR?

I have already benefited from attending the CIMR events, some in person, and several recent online ones.  I am a big fun of the CIMR Debates in Pubic Policy series!

I have also collaborated with the CIMR colleagues over the years, in particular, on the roles of universities in innovation processes, including the contribution of students to regional development, and the nature of knowledge exchange.

I am very excited to continue to work closely with the CIMR colleagues in the near future!

Thank you very much Fumi for sharing your interests and plans with us!

Fumi Kitagawa in conversation with Federica Rossi