Born in Rome in 1968 she moved soon to the U.S.A., where she graduated in history and international relations at Tufts University in Boston in 1990 and then achieved a master in economics in 1994 and a PhD in economics in 1999 at the New School for Social Research in New York. After having taught at Denver University (from 1997 until 1999), she received an EC Marie Curie post-doctoral fellowship at the London Business School, and then joined the economics Department of the Open University in 1999 as a lecturer, becoming a full professor in 2005 and founding and directing the “innovation, knowledge and development” research center. She was a visiting professor at the Bocconi University in Milan (from 2008 until 2010) and between 2011 and 2017 she was RM Phillips professor in economics of innovation at the University of Sussex. In 2017 she joined the University College of London as professor in the economics of innovation and public value, where she is founding director of the Institute for innovation and public purpose.
She has won many awards including the 2018 Leontief Prize for advancing the frontiers of economic thought and the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for cultural values. Her two most well known books are “The entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths” (Penguin, 2013) and “The value of everything: making and taking in the global economy” (Penguin, 2018). In her works she examines the relationship between innovation, economic growth and financial markets under different perspectives, emphasizing the importance of a targeted intervention of the State in the economy in order to foster a more inclusive and sustainable growth.
She has been elected to the UK Academy of Social Sciences in 2017 and to Italian Academy of Sciences (Lincei) in 2018.
She advises policy makers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Her current roles include being a member of the Scottish Government’s council of economic advisors; the South African President’s economic advisory council; the OECD Secretary General’s advisory group on a new growth narrative; the UN’s committee for development policy, Vinnova’s advisory panel in Sweden, and Norway’s research council. She is a special economic advisor for the Italian Prime Minister (2020) and, through her role as special advisor for the EC Commissioner for research, science and innovation (2017-2019), she authored the high impact report on “mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union”, turning “missions” into a crucial new instrument in the European Commission’s Horizon innovation programme. She is member of Enel's Board of Directors since May 2020.
Last update: June 24, 2020