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Project Focus

The site uses the value chain approach to examine California’s footprint in nanotechnology and its emerging research networks and resources to highlight California’s position in the national and global value chain. A secondary focus of this project is to showcase how visual analytic tools can be combined with the value chain research approach to further understanding of the industry and its economic development impacts and potential.

Project Team

This site was developed and is maintained by the Center on Globalization, Governance, & Competitivess (CGGC) at Duke University:

  • Project Developer & Manager: Stacey Frederick
  • Past and Present Research Assistants: Jordan Herman, Rachel Bowley and Leah Haile

Funding for this project is from the NSF Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara:

Value Chain Research Approach

A value chain research approach is used to analyze how relationships between stakeholders affect the development and competitiveness of a firm, industry, or location’s value chain. The value chain approach is composed of two parts:

  • Structure: a visual of the input-output process and geography of actors in  the global economy including the  supply chain (physical transformation ) plus value adding, non-production activities.
  • Framework:
    • Mapping: identify  activities and stakeholders  in the structure (who & what)
    • Analysis: identify relationship between dynamics & stakeholders (how & why)

The website represents an interactive, web-based version of applying all parts of the approach to a specific location and industry. Value chain mapping can be visually depicted along the value chain structure or geographically. Developing and applying this methodology is the focus of the Center on Globalization, Governance, & Competitiveness.


The concept for the California in the Nano Economy website draws heavily from two existing projects that both use the value chain framework to display information on key industries in North Carolina each catering to a different audience. Components of these sites were combined and expanded to create a more comprehensive resource for the California site.

  • NC in the Global Economy (NCGE): developed as part of a class project at Duke University, the site provides the results of value chain analyses for seven major NC industries. The site is widely used by government to understand NC’s position in these industries.
  • NC Textile Connect (NCTC): caters to industry; brings together diverse information on the NC textile industry in one place and organizes the information by value chain sector. This project was funded by the NC Department of Commerce and was the focus of Dr. Frederick's dissertation research.