His main research interests are in innovation processes and in the analysis of long term industrial development; primarily focusing on firms as well as industrial, regional and national development. He has also published widely on the role of defence in industrial and technological development. A main aspect of the research analyses diversity and difference in industrial development between industries and geographical areas.
Olav Wicken has a M Phil degree from the History Department at the University of Oslo. He has been a senior researcher at the Institute of Defence Studies in Oslo, director of the ESST unit at the University of Oslo, and is today a professor at the TIK centre.