I am a current PhD candidate in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) at the Graduate School of Social and Political Science (2014-2017). I completed my Master by Research in STIS from the same school in September, 2014 before starting my PhD. Earlier, I did Bachelor in Textile Engineering from National Textile University, Faisalabad, Pakistan (2002-2006), and Master in Management from University of Engineering and Technology Taxila, Pakistan (2008-2010).
Regarding my work experience, I worked in Textile Industry of Pakistan as professional engineer for couple of years after completing my bachelor studies. Later, I worked as Research Associate at Preston University, Islamabad Pakistan for two years on a research project titled "Nanotechnology in South Asia- building capabilities and governing the technology in Pakistan" from April 2011 to May 2013. Afterwards, I move to Edinburgh in September, 2013 for further studies.
My PhD project is a continuation of my Master Thesis on the topic of "Understanding the Learning and Innovation in Textile Sector in Pakistan", however the theoretical and analytical frameworks which I will employ in PhD project will be different from the Master Thesis. My PhD project is briefly described as follows;
Learning and innovation has been a key issue in economics and business studies for long. The concepts of Industrial Clustering, Proximity and Knowledge Spillover have received much attention from scholars because of their impact on economic development and growth of regions and nations.
There has been a general consensus among scholars that cluster firms outperform non-cluster firms in their learning and innovative performance because of the collective action and knowledge spillover effect.. The claim is that, due to geographical proximity, cluster firms learn from the knowledge spillovers of other firms and hence outperform non-cluster firms. Therefore, geographical proximity or clustering is responsible for the firm level learning and innovative outcome.
However, recent studies has challenged the above view and suggest that cluster firms do not learn because of the geographical proximity only and there are other factors which are responsible for the learning and innovation of firms such as social proximity, organizational proximity and cognitive proximity etc. In line with the recent claims, the main objective of current PhD project is to investigate the learning and innovation phenomena in the cluster firms. The specific objective of this study is to understand the impact of firm level characteristics on the intra-cluster knowledge system and to answer the below given research question;
How does firm level characteristics influence the intra-cluster knowledge system and knowledge network?
The study will be conducted in one of the Textile Industrial Cluster in Pakistan, that is located in the central part of the province of Punjab. The cluster is composed of both small and large scale independent as well as vertically integrated textile manufacturing firms. There are also advanced as well as less efficient textile firms in the cluster and hence provide an excellent case to study the impact of firm level characteristics to explain the meso level knowledge system in the clusters.
In addition to academic motivation to add the knowledge in the field, and to explain the shortcomings in the literature, I also have personal as well as professional motivations for this project. Being a professional textile engineer and associated with the field of textile in Pakistan since 2002, I have profound interest in promoting innovation in the local textile industry in Pakistan.