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The Technological Change Lab (TCLab) is research and advisory program with a focus on economic development. TCLab research deploys a three-way focus on Economic theory, Policy design, and Realistic development plans. Much of economic development has tended to exclude one or more of these elements.

Essentially, our focus is on processes of technological change . TCLab Affiliates have tended to specialize in developing or industrializing economies. TCLab research has analysed, especially through industry sector studies, the origins and implications of technological change through product and process innovations, employment, industrial policies, and urban- regional transformation.

At its core, TCLab research explores the knotty philosophical and practical concerns of technological change: its economic theories, redistribution and inclusion concerns, and the value systems that drive the  policies and planning processes that work.


The philosophy of TCLab has thus been always been on its three-way focus on Economic theory, Policy design, and Realistic development plans, while it is  commonplace for economists and economic development specialists to separate these. TCLab’s programs have made a modest attempt to deliberately nudge these three essential components together.

An essential component of our research is collaboration. The Lab works with a range of organizations-from government to academia, and grassroots organizations to multilateral development agencies and banks. TCLab has primarily drawn on small grants to support students and bigger grants to develop research collaborations with other scholars and universities.

TClab has tdrawn on a variety of sources: it has run university courses through departmental funding, built out research programs with both international and intra-mural funding, hosted senior and junior visiting scholars who are externally funded but have a close alignment with TCLab themes, and provided several funded research assistance opportunities for young scholars.

In addition, TCLab director and scholars have had their own extensive list of funded projects that further build on this research.

History and Economics

TCLab was founded at Columbia University in 2007 and remained with the university until the Director moved to Head up a School of Economic Development initiative in India. The mandate of TClab has expanded rapidly since. Until 2013, it expanded in programs and Visiting Scholars, hosting senior and junior postdoctoral Scholars, doctoral, and M.S. students. In 2014, TCLab received Global Centres funding from Rio de Janeiro to build out a research program on the oil and gas industry. From 2014-2017, several projects and programs have grown, several invitations to present work across the globe, and specific theoretical areas deepened.

TCLab's Visiting Scholars until 2014 have come from economics research in different parent disciplines and professions including economics (incl. political economy), urban and regional planning, technology and innovation management, public policy and public administration. TCLab Visiting Scholars have remained active in publishing and academic networks. Since 2014 collaborative research work has continued, for instance the Farms versus Firms project.

TCLab Pedagogy

In the past TCLab workshops have been part of Columbia Universities required M.S. courses on policy and planning with ‘client’ agencies and teams of M.S. students in urban planning.

The Lab was also at the forefront of new pedagogic offerings including a course on Development Strategy for Technology and Industry, where M.S. students had access to collaborating with departments in and improving upon the project design and policy framing of several multilateral agencies such as the OECD, the ILO, and UNCTAD.

Active scholarly exchanges

TCLab-affiliated academic papers were presented at the Globelics conference Addis Ababa in Oct 2014; and at several others including a TCLab organized session on “Industrial Policy Above and Below the Radar” at the American Association of Geographers, at the American Collegiate Schools of Planning conference, and others in Europe.

Postdoctoral scholars from the UK, Brazil, and Finland were hosted, all with a focus on different aspects of technological change and social transformation.

2014-15 TCLab Brazil-India partnerships expand

In 2014-2015, TCLab has focused on decentralized industrial governance and creation of new programs away from Columbia University and in developing economies.

With TCLab and Brazil Co-Director Prof. Monica Pinhanez, the programs have expanded with generous support from the FAPERJ Rio agencies, and from the Columbia Global Centres. These Programs are now independent of Columbia University and primarily associated with Brazil’s leading business and public administration school FGV-EBAPE.

In 2016, TClab and affiliated research continues being presented to audiences in several countries, including the US, UK, and Brazil.

Past TCLab Visiting Scholars are now Assistant professors in UFABC, Brazil, and London School of Economics, Senior public policy officers in the Brazilian government, and at public research institutes.

TCLab related research has been published in several peer-reviewd journals:

Urban Studies; Environment and Planning: Governance and Policy; Cambridge Journal of Regions; Economy and Society; International Small Business Journal; Journal of Economic Geography; European Planning Studies; IPEA Brazil applied economics institute,

and as scholarly books, including:

Award-winning (2012) Market Menagerie: Health and Development in Late Industrial States (Stanford University Press, Economics and Finance), which won the 2015 EAEPE Myrdal Prize (Smita Srinivas)

Recently published (in Portuguese for now)

Albert Fishlow and José Eustáquio Ribeiro Vieira Filho (2016) Agriculture and Industry in Brazil: Innovation and Competitivity

Director Srinivas has also recently completed an edited volume (with G. Bhan and V. Watson) The Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South (2017 forthcoming, UK) which takes on several sticky political economy issues in planning and policy.

TCLab global engagements: keynotes, seminars, dialogue

TCLab research and people are active in scholarship, pedagogy, and policy dialogue.

In 2016, Director Srinivas gives the keynote speech for the Bharat Soka Gakkai at the Indian Institute for Management, Bangalore, and a plenary talk by video-link to the United Nations Council for Regional Developnment in Nagoya, Japan.

She was also invited as a keynote to Montevideo, Uruguay where she gave a video-link speech to the Ph.D. students and faculty at the Advanced Development Studies workshop at the Universidad de la República, Montevideo. TCLab work was also discussed in other seminars and forums in several other locations.

In 2015-2017, TCLab research on Farms versus Firms, research on the health industry, and wider research collaborations continued. Dr. Jose Eustaquio Vieira Filho, TCLab Visiting Scholar and Smita Srinivas gave several talks. TCLab research was presented in Addis Ababa, Havana, Iowa City, Ames, Cambridge (US), New York, Brasilia, and Rio.

Srinivas gave further invited talks and discussant comments in London, Brighton, Delhi, Mumbai, and Dakar.

In Summer and Fall 2017,  Srinivas gives keynote speeches:

EAEPE Development Economics symposium in Berlin, Germany (June 2017),

2nd International Workshop on Smart Innovations: Digital Innovation for Smart Ecological Services, in Nice, France (November 2017)

In Fall 2016, Dr. Eustalquio Vieira Filho also launched his book and spoke at several conferences in Brazil.

The TCLab website is under re-design as an academic and policy-facing research unit, hosting news on development, research exchange, and program collaborations. Thank you for checking back in.


Former TCLab Visiting Scholars