research team - united kingdom
Maria is a Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge. She has also conducted research at the Regional Institute for the Economic Planning of Tuscany (IRPET – Florence); at the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge; and as a Research Associate at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham.
She has a first degree in Economics, a Master of Arts in European Economic Integration and a Master of Philosophy in Regional Growth and Development Theory. She is about to conclude her PhD at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. Her PhD research has been funded by the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education and by the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and has been supervised by Professor Ron Martin. The thesis, entitled ‘Dynamic Competitiveness of Industrial Clusters in a Globalising Economy: The Case of the Portuguese Footwear Industry’, explores the regional foundations of the dynamic competitiveness of industrial clusters based on a case study of a Portuguese footwear industrial district. The case study looks into the district’s response and adjustment to local (labour market dynamics, joint action dynamics, the dynamics of inter-firm linkages) and exogenous (globalisation, European integration, market changes) processes and it explores the local-global nexus with reference to the new international division of labour, to power asymmetries, and to socio-economic inequality and exclusion. The methodology employed is mainly based on qualitative analysis and on simple quantitative analysis of about 200 interviews and of various databases on Portuguese and global processes.
Her research interests include human and economic geography; regional growth and development; regional policy; geographical foundations of regional competitiveness; clusters and industrial districts; globalisation and the local-global nexus; regional innovation systems; regional dynamics (institutions, labour market, inter-firm linkages and market linkages) and the socio-cultural embeddedness of economic activities; the role of power asymmetries and of socio-economic exclusion and inequalities in regional development; Post Fordism debates (particularly focused on flexible specialisation); and European integration.
She is currently studying the Welsh system of innovation in the opto-electronics industry and preparing various papers for publication based on her PhD work.