PhD in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, London UK

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The research areas of Innovation and Entrepreneurship sit within the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. Faculty and students in these fields undertake research into the innovation and entrepreneurship process, from identifying pockets of original knowledge in the search for ideas, to the diffusion and entrepreneurial exploitation of new products, processes and services. The area is a core part of the Business School and is unique in Europe due to its interdisciplinary depth, funding, contacts and published research in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship welcomes PhD students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds who strive for excellence and have a desire to influence policy and practice by working at the interface of science, engineering and business management.

Research areas

The advent of new technologies as well as ongoing social, environmental and organisational changes mean new approaches to innovation and entrepreneurship are needed and their effectiveness needs to be researched and validated. Faculty members are particularly interested in the core themes of spotting and leveraging entrepreneurial opportunities; managing the innovation process; building and operating entrepreneurial ecosystems; the role of networks in innovation and entrepreneurship the impact of corporate entrepreneurship on organizational innovation; and commercialising science innovations.

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Research Centres and Partnerships

Faculty within IE work with global companies, SMEs, policy communities and research institutions, as well as flagship projects with Imperial’s Engineering, Natural Science and Medicine faculties. No other group in Europe has such inter-disciplinary application, actively translating its research findings through direct engagement with research and industry partners, academic publications, conferences, workshops and briefings.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship faculty are involved in numerous research centres across Imperial College, specifically the Centre for Management Buy-Out Research, a centre devoted to the study of private equity and buy-outs. Digital City Exchange, a five-year Digital Economy multi-disciplinary research programme at Imperial College London. Researchers are exploring ways to digitally link utilities and services within a city, enabling new technical and business opportunities. The Entrepreneurship Hub, which translates new insights developed by the academic community into practical tools and guidelines for entrepreneurs and managers active in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and design (IE&D). Entrepreneurial Family Business Centre, a global repository of practices, behaviours and models that characterise innovation and governance in entrepreneurial families and family-owned businesses worldwide.  Gandhi Centre for Inclusive Innovation, linking innovation and entrepreneurship in companies and institutions globally, through thought leadership, research, technology and next-generation innovation models.

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Doctoral Theses in Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Name Thesis title Supervisor(s)
Christopher Corbishley Institutions, Organizations and Markets for Inclusive Growth Professor Gerry George, Professor David Gann
Lien de Cuyper Doing Good While Making Profit: Perspectives on Reconciling Multiple Objectives in Social Enterprises Professor Bart Clarysse, Professor Mike Wright
Jyun Ying Trent Fu Three Essays on Corporate Independent Directors in Emerging Markets Professor Paola Criscuolo, Professor Mike Wright
Maria Gradillas The Role of Collaboration in Emerging Industries: The Case of Smart Grids in the UK Dr Aija Leiponen, Dr Ilze Kivleniece, Professor Markus Perkmann
Brian Kavanagh Art in the Age of its Digital Reproduction: Reimagining Performing Organisations in the Context of Discontinuous Institutional Change Professor David Gann, Professor Nelson Phillips
Hsiao-Han Sophia Lu Audience Recognition: The Determinants of Academics – Media Impact Dr Anne ter Wal, Professor Markus Perkmann
Rossella Salandra The Firms’ Strategic Behaviour in Shaping Science in the Context of Evidence Creation and Dissemination in Pharma Professor Paola Criscuolo, Professor Ammon Salter
Cleo Silvestri Organisational identification and Professional Image Construction in a Hybrid Organisation Professor Markus Perkmann, Professor Paola Criscuolo
Ahmet Yildirim Management of Ecosystem Evolution: The Effect of Macro and Micro Influencers on a Firm's Ecosystem Management Activities Professor Bart Clarysse
Laurens Vandeweghe New Start-up Intermediaries: An Institutional Theory Perspective Professor Bart Clarysse
Mara Guerra Entrepreneurial Ventures’ Market Choices: Essays from the Solar Photovoltaic Industry Professor Bart Clarysse
Marine Mograbyan New Venture Internationalisation in the Digital Age Professor Erkko Autio

Practical experience

PhD students in the department have the opportunity to teach on programmes such as MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management as well as on our MBA, which offers a unique focus on innovation through elective courses and the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Design project.

Administrative label
Doctoral CTA - I&E

Master's in Research

If you pursue the Doctoral programme and choose a research area within Analytics & Operations or Marketing, you will pursue a one year MRes, followed by four years of independent research. For all other research areas you will pursue a two year MRes followed by four years of independent research. 

Find out more about the programme structure.