Maryann P. Feldman is the Heninger Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching interests focus on innovation, the commercialization of academic research and the factors that promote technological change and economic growth. Feldman was the winner of the 2013 Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research - awarded by the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics - for her contributions to the study of the geography of innovation and the role of entrepreneurial activity in the formation of regional industry clusters. Her book, the Geography of Innovation, examined the spatial distribution of industrial innovation and provided an empirical model of the factors and resources that affected the production of new product innovation. This work is noted to be the first time that the term geography was used to describe spatial phenomenon and is now an accepted lexicon.
Feldman has written about several topics, including: the process and mechanics of the commercialization of academic research; Jurisdictional Advantage which describes how places construct unique, not easily replicated economic advantage; the early development and growth of biotechnology, as an example of transformative technology; the industrial applications of optical science; and, most recently, emerging industries, entrepreneurship and the process of regional transformation, as discussed in the edited book, Cluster Genesis: the origins of technology-based economic development. Feldman has published in: the American Economic Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Annuals of the Association of American Geographers, Management Science, Organization Science, Research Policy, The Journal of Technology Transfer, and the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Feldman was also Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation Project that examined state economic development policies in order to understand what policies are most appropriate in different ecosystems and under different economic conditions.
Currently Feldman is actively engaged in researching the industrial genesis of the Research Triangle region, in a joint project with Nichola Lowe. The project follows the development of the regional economy over a 50 year time period using a unique database of 3200 entrepreneurial ventures and attempts to understand the institutional dynamics that created a vibrant regional economy.