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MIT Industrial Performance Center

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Dr. Carlos Martinez-Vela, Director of Innovation Policy at the MTC's John Adams Innovative Institute

Dr. Martínez-Vela was a member of the MIT Industrial Performance Center (IPC) as a doctoral researcher and postdoctoral associate and fellow. There, he was a founding member of the Local Innovation Systems (LIS) project team and served as director of the First International Conference on Local Innovation Systems: Universities and the Competitiveness of Local Economies. As a member of the LIS project, he led field-based industry cluster and regional economic development research in the machinery industry in Tampere, Finland; the NASCAR motorsports industry in Charlotte, North Carolina; the automotive industry in Upstate South Carolina; and the intersection of life sciences and IT industries in the Greater Boston region.

Since November 2008, Dr. Martínez-Vela serves as director of innovation policy at the John Adams Innovation Institute, a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), a quasi-public economic development agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In that role, he develops and supports need- and evidence-based initiatives and programs that bring together industry, academia, and government and mobilize the state’s research, innovation, and entrepreneurship communities to better conditions for industry cluster growth and to expand the prosperity benefits of innovation to all regions of the state. He is a key contributor to the development and publication of the Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy, published annually by MTC, and provides ongoing strategic and messaging support across multiple projects and initiatives, often in collaboration with the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Dr. Martínez-Vela obtained masters and Ph.D. degrees in the field of technology, management, and policy from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (Monterrey, Mexico). His doctoral dissertation, titled “The Duality of Innovation: Implications for the Role of the University in Economic Development” examined the role of universities in the reinvention of the mechanical engineering industry in Tampere, Finland and the emergence of the NASCAR motorsports industry in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a frequent speaker and advocate at industry, academic, and policy forums in the field of innovation and economic development, particularly on the role of universities in economic development.


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