Rethinking Clusters 2021 – Keydates

This year the RC2021 conference will be held ONLINE and it will focus on the technological and sustainable transitions that clusters, regions and countries are facing and will have to face in the near future.
These transitions change the nature of production and exchange and create new modalities to embark in inter-organizational and inter-personal relationships and help contrasting inequalities. The conference will discuss the ways in which these changes are occurring, and the consequences they are likely to have on different places and societies, in advanced, emerging and developing market economies.

Submission deadline: Posponed to June, 24th, 2021

Notification of acceptance: June, 25-28th, 2021

Registration opening: July, 1st, 2021

Registration deadline: July, 11th, 2021

ONLINE Conference dates: September, 22nd-23rd, 2021

Call for Papers and Tracks


The deadline for abstract submission is expired. We have received around 100 contributions and we are working on the program for the conference in September!!

We welcome contributions that are related, but not limited, to the following themes:

• Smart cities: between digital technologies and social inclusiveness
• Industrial districts, clusters and regions in sustainability transition
• Artificial intelligence, big data and places
• 4.0 manufacturing and the transformation of work
• The local/international dimension of Innovation networks
• Sustainable entrepreneurship and ecosystems
• Place-sensitive industrial innovation and policy
• Culture and creative industries in sustainability transitions
• The transition to sustainable tourism
• Resilience and sustainability of places in a post pandemic scenario
• The local/global dimension of inequalities: economic, gender, digital dimension.

Special sessions:

Members of the community that are willing to organize a special session within the workshop are kindly invited to send an email to the local organizers before the 14th of May, including a description of the contents of the session and a list of potential interested participants.

We encourage submissions from scholars, practitioners, innovators and leaders who are forging ahead with strategies to shift towards sustainability and technological change. We welcome contributions that develop innovative approaches in concepts, theory, methods or analysis and have deep or broad implications to inform place sensitive strategies for sustainable and technological transitions in a network society.

RC 2021 will be held ONLINE on Zoom platform.


The conference is organized by Department of Economics and Management (DiSEI) of the University of Florence in collaboration with the University of Padova, the Universitat Politècnica de València and the Faculty of Economics of the University of Valencia.

Local organizers:

Luciana Lazzeretti
Full Professor in Economics and Management and founding director of the Post-graduate course in Economics and Management of Cultural Goods and Museums, University of Florence. Coordinator of the Doctorate Program ‘Development Economics and Local Systems’ (DELoS), University of Trento and Florence. Her current research interests deal with: industrial districts, cultural clusters, cities of art, creative and cultural industries, innovation and creativity. She recently published Creative industries and innovation in Europe, Routledge (2013) and Creative cities, Cultural Clusters and Local Economic Development, Edward Elgar (2008) (with Phil Cooke).


Francesco Capone
PhD, Associate Professor in Management at the Dept. of Economics and Management, University of Florence. He is member of the Doctorate Programme ‘Developing Economics and Local Systems’ (DELoS), University of Trento and Florence. His recent research interests deal with innovation, creativity and inter-organisational collaborations in open contexts, such as industrial districts and clusters. He published several articles in national and international journals, among others: Industry and Innovation, Journal of Business Research, European Planning Studies, European Urban and Regional Studies, Annals of Regional Science, etc. He recently published with Routledge (2016): Tourist clusters, destinations and competitiveness.


Annalisa Caloffi
Associate Professor at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Florence. She held a PhD in Economics and management of firms and local systems at the University of Florence. Her research interests focus on industrial and innovation policy, clusters and districts and innovation networks. She is member of the Centre for Applied Economics, Industrial Policy, Local Development and Internationalization – c.MET05, and of the Centre for the Analysis of Public Policies – CAPP, of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.



Rafael Boix
PhD, is Associate Professor at the Department of Economic Structure, University of Valencia. His current research interests include creative industries, industrial districts and clusters, and networks of cities. He has participated in applied research for the OECD, the Barcelona City and Province, and the Spanish Ministry of Industry. He is the author of book chapters published in Springer, Edward Elgar, Routledge and IGI, and articles in specialized journals such as Land Use Policy, Papers in Regional Science, European Planning Studies, Regional Studies, The Annals of Regional Science, The Journal of Regional Research, Industry and Innovation, and European Urban and Regional Studies, among others.


José Luis Hervas-Oliver
PhD, Full Professor at  Universitat Politècnica de València (Valencia, Spain). Dr. Hervas-Oliver has been granted by several Spanish Ministries (Industry, Economics, etc.) in order to fulfill research on innovation. He has three Top Class (A+ honors) distinctions in the BSc, MSc and PhD. Dr. Hervas-Oliver is devoted to the study of firms in clusters: focusing on the intersection of firm-strategy and economic geography in SMEs. Main publications include those in Journal of Economic Geography, Research Policy, Technovation, Regional Studies, Papers in Regional Science, Journal of Technology Transfer, Small Business Economics, Journal of Small Business Management, Journal of Business Research, European Planning Studies, Policy Studies, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, etc., among many collaborations and works in contributed volumes (Routledge, Springer, Edward Elgar, etc.). At the present time, Dr. Hervas-Oliver leads a R&D Project on Industry 4.0 and clusters in Spain InnoRadical4.0 (RTI2018-095739-B-100).


Silvia Rita Sedita
Associate Professor of management at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova. Her research agenda includes issues within the field of management of creativity and innovation in inter-organizational networks. The theoretical focus is on agglomerations (clusters and industrial districts), project based organizations in creative industries and university-industry collaborations in high-tech industries. The main research settings are creative industries (design, music industry), high-tech industries (life science, advanced materials), Italian industrial districts and clusters. She published articles and book chapters in national and international outlets in the field of inter-organizational networks for innovation in clusters and industrial districts.


Local co-organizers:

Niccolo Innocenti 

Post-doc fellow researcher at the European University Institute, Fiesole, Firenze. Niccolò Innocenti joined the EUI as a research associate in 2020. He completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Florence in 2015 where he has worked as a post-doc fellow in Economics for four years. He worked on themes of relatedness and related variety between technologies, investigating the role of technological and industrial diversification in favouring the innovative and economic growth of countries and regions. He published in renowned scientific journals (among others Small Business Economics, Industry and Innovation and Papers in Regional Science).


Stefania Oliva 

Post-doc fellow researcher at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Florence. She holds a PhD in Economics in 2017. She is a lecturer on management of museums and cultural organisations at the University of Florence and the University of Innsbruck. Her expertise is on determinants of local competitiveness, resilience and sustainability of cities and regions, cultural organizations and creative industries. She studies culture and creativity as sources for the adaptation of regions to shocks. She is interested in cities of art and fashion cities, social and environmental reporting and accountability in museums.


Martina Nannelli

Post-doc fellow researcher at the Department of Economics and Management, University of Florence. She holds a PhD in Economics in 2021. Her research interests include business modelling for local development and business modelling for sustainability, sustainable tourism and eTourism. She works on themes of investigating the role of artificial intelligence diffusion in cluster development. Her researches have been presented at international conferences including ENTER 2020, Sinergie-SIMA 2019 and Rethinking Clusters 2019, and published in conference proceedings and journal articles.


Keynote speakers

Prof. Mercedes Delgado, keynote speaker at 2021 Rethinking Clusters

It is with great pleasure to announce that Rethinking Clusters 2021 will host Professor Mercedes Delgado as keynote speaker in a stimulating conversation on The role of location and industry clusters in female inventor inclusion.

Mercedes Delgado is Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Copenhagen Business School and Research Scientist at the MIT Innovation Initiative. Delgado’s research focuses on the relationship between the regional business environment and the performance of inventors, firms, regions, and countries. She examines the role of regional industry clusters—geographic concentrations of related industries, firms, and supporting institutions —in job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship, inclusivity, and resilience. Delgado has developed new methods for defining and mapping industry clusters and the supply chain economy, providing tools to help firms, practitioners, and policymakers create regional and national strategies. Delgado’s work has been published in top economic, policy, and strategy journals. She has received a number of prestigious research grants, including a recent National Science Foundation grant on Mapping the Inventor Gender Gap. She served as a lead researcher on the US Cluster Mapping Project: Mapping a Nation of Regional Clusters. Web:

Prof. Patrick Cohendet, keynote speaker at 2021 Rethinking Clusters

It is with great pleasure to announce that Rethinking Clusters 2021 will host Professor Patrick Cohendet as keynote speaker in a stimulating conversation on Innovation ecosystems, community and places.

Patrick Cohendet is full professor at HEC Montréal in the International Business Department. His research interests include Theory of the firm, Economics of Innovation, Economics of Knowledge, Economics of Creativity and Knowledge Management. He is the author of 20 books and over 120 articles in refereed journals, such as Research Policy, Organization Science, Industrial and corporate Change, Journal of Economic Geography, Long Range Planning, etc. He conducted a series of economic studies on the economics of innovation for different international organisations such as the European Commission, the European Space Agency or the Canadian Space Agency. He is co-director of the research group Mosaic at HEC Montréal on the management of innovation and creativity, and co-editor of the academic journal “Management International”.

Prof. André Torre, keynote speaker at 2021 Rethinking Clusters

It is with great pleasure to announce that Rethinking Clusters 2021 will host Professor André Torre  as keynote speaker in a stimulating conversation on Clusters, circular economy and new new paths to a sustainable territorial development.

André Torre  is Research Professor at the University Paris-Saclay, and INRAE (Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement). His research focuses on the analysis of local relationships and their importance in the coordination processes between actors. It is mainly related to two areas: territorial development processes and their modes of governance, conflict and cooperation; local and distant interactions between innovative firms, and more particularly the role played by various types of proximity in the transmission of knowledge. André Torre has published 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 20 books, alone or co-edited, and has edited some than 20 special issues of journals, mainly on issues related to space and coordination between actors. He is President of ERSA (European Regional Science Association), and Managing editor of the Revue d’Economie Régionale et Urbaine (RERU).

RC 2021 will be held ONLINE on Zoom platform.