Dr. Maximilian Benner, M.Sc.

Bereich: Forschungspolitik & Entwicklung

Funktionen am ZSI: Senior Project Manager, Researcher, Evaluator


  • Phone: ++43-1-495 04 42 / 68
  • Fax: ++43-1-495 04 42 / 40
  • Email:

Laufende und abgeschlossene Projekte:

Arbeits- und Forschungsschwerpunkte:

  • Scientific project management and coordination, monitoring and evaluation, scientific quality assurance, communications and dissemination
  • Scientific policy consulting on research and innovation policy in South-Eastern Europe
  • Research and dissemination on subjects of regional innovation policies (particularly smart specialisation, clusters, incubation, acceleration, etc.), research and innovation policy, knowledge and technology transfer, innovation management, and digitalisation of service industries
  • Focus: Middle East and North Africa, Mediterranean countries, Western Balkans

Weitere Publikationen:

Benner, Maximilian (2017): From clusters to smart specialization: Tourism in institution-sensitive regional development policies. In: Economies 5 (3): 26,

Benner, Maximilian (2017): Smart specialisation and cluster emergence: Building blocks for evolutionary regional policies. In: Hassink, R., Fornahl, D. (eds.): The Life Cycle of Clusters: A Policy Perspective. Camberley: Edward Elgar: 151-172

Benner, Maximilian (2017): The legacy of Sidi Bouzid: Overcoming spatial inequalities in Tunisia. In: Krížek, D., Záhorík, J. (eds.): Beyond the 'Arab Spring' in North Africa: Macro and micro perspectives. Lanham: Lexington: 47-65

Lehmann, Tine / Benner, Maximilian (2015): Cluster policy in the light of institutional context - A comparative study of transition countries. In: Administrative Sciences 5 (4): 188-212,

Benner, Maximilian (2015): Europa und der Maghreb: Von der Nachbarschaft zur Wirtschaftspartnerschaft. (Europe and the Maghreb: From neighborhood to economic partnership) In: Neuss, Beate, Nötzold, Antje (eds.): The Southern Mediterranean: Challenges to the European Foreign and Security Policy. Baden-Baden: Nomos: 57-82

Benner, Maximilian (2014): Decentralised regional development policy in Tunisia: A new beginning after the "Arab Spring"? In: International Reports 06/2014: 31-50,

Benner, Maximilian (2014): From smart specialisation to smart experimentation: Building a new theoretical framework for regional policy of the European Union. In: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 58 (1): 33-49,

Benner, Maximilian (2012): Clusterpolitik: Wege zur Verknüpfung von Theorie und politischer Umsetzung. (Cluster Policy: Ways to Link Theory and Political Implementation) Münster: LIT.

Benner, Maximilian (2012): Cluster policy: Principles and a toolbox. SPACES online, Vol. 10, Issue 2012-01. Toronto and Heidelberg:

Benner, Maximilian (2009): What do we know about clusters? In search of effective cluster policies. SPACES online, Vol. 7, Issue 2009-04. Toronto and Heidelberg:

Ausbildung und beruflicher Werdegang:

Mr. Maximilian Benner studied economics and business administration, and he holds a doctorate in economic geography from Heidelberg University. He focuses on innovation-driven regional development including subjects such as cluster policy, smart specialisation, inclusive entrepreneurship, and digitalisation of SMEs in service industries. Dr. Benner has been teaching at various high-profile universities such as Heidelberg University, Vienna University, and Hafen City University. He is pursuing research on institutional and evolutionary aspects of regional development, innovation and entrepreneurship in Tunisia and Jordan at Heidelberg University. His knowledge on innovation, regional development, and smart specialisation is frequently demanded for expertises and peer reviews in the European scientific community in economic geography.

Prior to joining ZSI in March 2018, Dr. Benner worked as a consultant in international cooperation. He participated in scientific studies and technical cooperation projects in South Eastern Europe, Cyprus, the Caucasus, Turkey, Tunisia, and others. Projects Dr. Benner worked in covered fields such as regional development planning, cluster setup, SME upgrading, and university-industry collaboration.

Dr. Benner is fluent in English, French, German, and several Middle Eastern languages. His methodological skills include qualitative and quantitative empirics and applied econometrics as well as state-of-the-art computer-assisted personal interviewing technologies.