Using big data to explore the global productivity slowdown: BIGPROD meeting in Brussels


BIGPROD’s official kick-off meeting took place at the Maastricht University Brussels Campus on 22 January 2020. The goal of the BIGPROD project is to extend existing econometric approaches to productivity, such as the Crepon-Duguet-Mairesse (CDM) model, with theoretically sound ‘Big data’ measures that are operationalised, validated through pilots and communicated to relevant stakeholders.

This is achieved by uncovering the origins of the productivity slowdown in most Western economies. Based on this understanding, BIGPROD will extend the CDM model to better account for changes in the innovation process and utilise measures enabled by ‘Big data’. The operationalisation and theoretical framework will be validated using a multi-criteria impact assessment approach.

The validation will include three pilots based on issues arising from the research literature on challenges of existing measures of productivity. These are i) high technology and digitalisation, ii) low technology and innovation outcomes, and iii) services and incumbent entrant dynamics. To allow for full integration with the policy cycle, the project will incorporate a deep stakeholder consultation mitigating any skills gap, creating transparency, enabling stakeholder influence in sources and tools used, and enabling policymakers being informed on utilising tools and pilots.

Beyond UNU-MERIT, the BIGPROD consortium is made up of researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre (Finland), the Public Policy and Management Institute (Lithuania), Fraunhofer ISI Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Germany), Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), and the University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom).

UNU-MERIT will be involved in several work packages in this project. The development and extension of the econometric framework and the accompanying literature review, as well as the involvement of the stakeholders through a co-creational approach, are the main jobs that the MERIT team will be involved in.

The project is a Research and Innovation Action in the EU’s Horizon 2020 Work Programme: Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies (Work programme years: 2018-2020). It was launched as a Call for Proposals under ‘Socioeconomic and cultural transformations in the context of the fourth industrial revolution’, part of the Call topic: ‘Using big data approaches in research and innovation policy making’.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870822


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    BIGPROD project