Portrait of Professor Jeremy Howells

Professor Jeremy Howells

Professor of Innovation
Interim Dean


Professor Jeremy Howells is a leading international researcher on innovation. He has researched extensively on innovation and knowledge exchange and taught at Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford universities. He was previously Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Art at the University of Southampton and before that he was the Executive Director at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR) at the University of Manchester and Head of the Innovation Management and Policy Division at the Alliance Manchester Business School, holding the Eddie Davies Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Jeremy is also a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

Research interests

Innovation intermediaries, open innovation and knowledge exchange. Jeremy has undertaken major research projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the European Commission, European Science Foundation (ESF), Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UNIDO and UNCTAD). He was also Editor of R&D Management between 2008-14 and is on a number of editorial boards of innovation and technology management journals. Jeremy has over 10,000 Google citations of his publications.


Jeremy has significant teaching experience at Executive Education, MBA, masters and undergraduate levels. He has designed a number of new masters and undergraduate programmes on innovation as well as delivering a number of modules, covering innovation, technology management and knowledge exchange. He also runs a number of one-day, high-level workshops on topics, such as open innovation and knowledge exchange.


Jeremy has supervised over twenty-five PhD students to completion and welcomes applications relative to his research expertise. He has also successfully supervised a large number of postgraduate students in their MBA and Masters dissertations.

Jeremy welcomes prospective student dissertation topics in all aspects of innovation and technology management research.


Jeremy has been a consultant and provided expert advice to the European Commission, national governments, public agencies and a range of major and fast-growth companies across the world. He has presented papers at the Academy of Management (AoM), the British Academy of Management (BAM) and the European Academy of Management (EURAM). Jeremy was recently awarded the Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) for his contribution to social science research.



  • Howells, J. and Lowe, M. (2018). Innovation, market segmentation and entrepreneurship in services: The case of the hotel industry. In: Cook, G., Johns, J., McDonald, F., Beaverstock, J. and Pandit, N. eds. The Routledge Companion to the Geography of International Business. Routledge.


  • De Silva, M., Howells, J. and Meyer, M. (2017). Innovation intermediaries and collaboration: knowledge–based practices and internal value creation. Research Policy [Online] 47:70-87. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2017.09.011.
    This paper analyses how knowledge-based practices adopted by innovation intermediaries enable them to generate value for themselves when collaborating with their clients. While the literature focuses on value creation for their client organisations, little is known about how innovation intermediaries create internal value even though this is essential for ensuring their long-term survival and sustaining their key facilitating role in the innovation system. This understudied issue is explored using empirical evidence from a sub-set of innovation intermediaries, Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs). The results indicate that by capitalising on existing knowledge vested in employees and collaborators as well as understanding and shaping the knowledge base of the innovation ecosystem, innovation intermediaries generate internal value from their involvement in collaborative innovation, which range from different financial to non-financial types of value. Implications for intermediaries, their collaborators and for policymakers are then discussed.
  • Karatas-Ozkan, M., Anderson, A., Fayolle, A., Howells, J. and Condor, R. (2014). Understanding entrepreneurship: Challenging dominant perspectives and theorizing entrepreneurship through new postpositivist epistemologies. Journal of Small Business Management [Online] 52:589-593. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jsbm.12124.
    Entrepreneurship is characterized by complex, dynamic and emergent processes, and the interplay between actors, processes, and contexts. Postpositivistic approaches offer the opportunity to examine subtleties of the phenomenon of entrepreneurship by placing emphasis on a range of its dimensions and the interplays between dimensions. Despite a growing body of postpositivistic research in response to such calls, the legitimacy of these approaches is still subject to debate on the grounds of rigor and relevance. This special issue challenges these prevailing but often hidden assumptions governing the conduct and publication of scholarly inquiry in the field of entrepreneurship and offers alternative perspectives for future research. © 2014 International Council for Small Business.
  • Howells, J., Karata?-Özkan, M., Yavuz, Ç and Atiq, M. (2014). University management and organisational change: A dynamic institutional perspective. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society [Online] 7:251-270. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cjres/rsu005.
    The external task environment of universities has changed significantly due to a combination of major change factors, including increasing globalisation of the educational system, the increasing international mobility and reach of the students and staff, the wider 'marketisation' of higher education and more specific structural, governance and institutional changes within the global education system. These changes raise significant challenges for university management and leadership. Drawing on qualitative interviews, the article demonstrates importance of leadership agency and associated qualities of university leadership for balancing plural institutional logics that help drive organisational transformation in times of major paradigmatic changes. © 2013 The Author.
  • Howells, J. and Ramlogan, R. (2013). On the dynamics of innovation and change: Essays in honour of Stan Metcalfe. Economies of Innovation and New Technology [Online] 22:619-622. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10438599.2013.827901.
  • Howells, J. and Bessant, J. (2012). Introduction : Innovation and economic geography: A review and analysis. Journal of Economic Geography [Online] 12:929-942. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbs029.
    This article reviews the developing links between economic geography and innovation theory and practical management in terms of research and literature. This article identifies five main themes, where this has been most evident, namely: coordination issues; proximity and geographical environment (including clusters, spillovers, agglomerations and networks); flows and connections: transactions and trade; enterprise and entrepreneurship; and innovation and knowledge. This article positions the papers in this Special Issue within this framework and identifies areas for future research between the two fields.
  • Howells, J. (2012). The geography of knowledge : Never so close but never so far apart. Journal of Economic Geography [Online] 12:1003-1020. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbs027.
    This article begins by reviewing how knowledge and innovation has been conceptualized in economic geography over time. It then moves on to explore in detail the characteristics of knowledge including its generation processing and exchange. This article then seeks to explore the increasingly distributed nature of knowledge and the division of knowing in an economy, which is leading to many key knowledge workers and activities to become ever more isolated.
  • Howells, J., Gagliardi, D. and Malik, K. (2012). Sourcing knowledge : R&D outsourcing in UK pharmaceuticals. International Journal of Technology Management [Online] 59:139-161. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJTM.2012.047253.
    The outsourcing of research and development (R&D) activities has grown rapidly in recent years. Outsourcing has major implications for how knowledge and R&D activities are organised and coordinated in a wider open innovation environment and creates major challenges for firms and their managers. This paper explores the implications of outsourcing and the increasingly distributed nature of research and innovative activities using primary survey data collected from the UK pharmaceutical industry. These issues are uniquely examined at both firm and activity level. This paper then seeks to set the findings of the study within the context of the wider debate and conceptual frameworks surrounding R&D outsourcing and offshoring in terms of the increasingly open and distributed nature of research operations. This paper concludes by exploring the implications for this for firm strategy and the open innovation agenda and for future research in this field.
  • Howells, J., Ramlogan, R. and Cheng, S. (2012). Universities in an open innovation system : A UK perspective. Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research [Online] 18:440-456. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13552551211239483.
    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and impact of higher education institution (HEI) in a distributed, open innovation system using a survey of some 600 firms in the UK. Design/methodology/approach: Primary data are used from a postal questionnaire survey of 600 firms across three UK regions: Wales, the North West and the East of England. Findings: The analysis reveals significant differences in firm collaboration with HEIs across the UK and the value and impact that such collaborations have on firm development. The nature and effects of such collaboration vary significantly between the type of firm involved and their location and the analysis investigates this in relation to various aspects of innovative activity and firm performance. Originality/value: Although much of the nature and effects of such collaboration are as one would expect, some of the results are counter-intuitive and highlight the care we should place on assessing the role of universities and other HEIs in open innovation systems. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Howells, J., Ramlogan, R. and Cheng, S. (2012). Innovation and university collaboration: Paradox and complexity within the knowledge economy. Cambridge Journal of Economics [Online] 36:703-721. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/cje/bes013.
    The paper will explore the nature and impact of universities and other higher education institutions (HEIs) on firms' innovation and growth in an increasingly distributed and open innovation system, using a survey of some 400 firms in the UK. The analysis reveals significant differences in firms' collaboration with HEIs across the UK and the value and impact that such collaborations have on a firm's development. The nature and effects of such collaboration vary significantly between the type of firm involved and their location, and the analysis investigates this in relation to various aspects of innovative activity and firms' performance. Much of the nature and effects of such collaboration are, as one would expect, counterintuitive and highlight the care we should place on assessing the role of universities and other HEIs in open innovation systems.
  • Howells, J. and Edler, J. (2011). Structural innovations : Towards a unified perspective?. Science and Public Policy [Online] 38:157-167. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3152/030234211X12924093660598.
    This article argues that the intervention to generate structural innovations and with it the structural interaction between organisation actors can be understood as attempts to tackle system failures in innovation systems, mainly as regards networking and actor capabilities. However, these interventions are challenging, they often rest on simplistic assumptions on interaction and networking needs and potentially generate dysfunctional systemic effects. These challenges are discussed using illustrations of structural innovations to improve industry-academic collaborations in the UK and Germany. The article then concludes with a conceptual and policy discussion of opportunities, challenges and unintended consequences of deliberate structural innovation and intervention in structural interaction.
  • Howells, J. (2008). New directions in R&D : Current and prospective challenges. R&D Management [Online] 38:241-252. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2008.00519.x.
    This paper investigates the paradox of research and development (R&D), that is being increasingly undervalued by firms and nations, and yet continues to grow and prosper in terms of overall size and reach. The analysis outlines key developments that are currently affecting the growth and development of R&D activity and highlights the issues and problems that R&D managers and policymakers may likely face over the next decade.
  • Howells, J., Gagliardi, D. and Malik, K. (2008). The growth and management of R&D outsourcing : Evidence from UK pharmaceuticals. R&D Management [Online] 38:205-219. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2008.00508.x.
    Outsourcing of research and development (R&D) activities has become a major management issue for R&D and technical managers within firms. It has also been of growing concern to academics who are trying to chart the implications of the increasingly distributed nature of research and innovative activities in advanced economies. This study is based on a survey of research-based pharmaceutical companies operating in the United Kingdom conducted in 2004-2006. The aim of this paper is to outline the main reasons for pharmaceutical firms to outsource R&D and the management practices followed by such companies in relation to outsourcing. The research results provide interesting findings in relation to, for example, the reasons behind outsourcing, the decision-making processes behind such practices and barriers to outsourcing arrangements. These issues are evaluated together with the characteristics of the firms and the specific project outsourced.
  • Howells, J. (2006). Intermediation and the role of intermediaries in innovation. Research Policy [Online] 35:715-728. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2006.03.005.
    This paper investigates the issue of intermediation and the role of intermediaries in the innovation process. The aim of this paper is three-fold. Firstly, to review and synthesis the literature in this field; from this to develop a typology and framework of the different roles and functions of the intermediation process within innovation; lastly to try and operationalise the typology within the context of UK using case study material.

Book section

  • Tunalioglu, R., Karatas-Ozkan, M., Yavuz, C., Bektas, T., Cobanoglu, F., Howells, J. and Karaman, A. (2017). Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship in agriculture: Empirical insights into the SME ecosystem. In: Nicolopoulou, K., Karatas-Ozkan, M., Janssen, F. and Jermier, J. M. eds. Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Yavuz, C., Karata?-Özkan, M. and Howells, J. (2014). Institutional entrepreneurship: social responsibility and agency of social entrepreneurs in driving institutional change. In: Karatas-Ozkan, M., Nicolopoulou, K. and Ozbilgin, M. eds. Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resource Management: A Diversity Perspective. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 307-332.
  • Karatas-Ozkan, M., Yavuz, C. and Howells, J. (2014). Theorising entrepreneurship : an institutional theory perspective. In: Chell, E. and Karatas-Ozkan, M. eds. Handbook of Research on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 70-80.
  • Howells, J. (2011). Innovation and Globalisation : A Systems of Innovation Perspective. In: Michie, J. ed. The Handbook of Globalisation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 107-116.
  • Howells, J. (2010). Services and innovation and service innovation: new theoretical directions. In: Gallouj, F. and Djellal, F. eds. The Handbook of Innovation and Services: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 68-83. Available at: http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/the-handbook-of-innovation-and-services.
  • Blind, K., Evangelista, R. and Howells, J. (2010). Knowledge Regimes and Intellectual Property Protection in Services: A Conceptual Model and Empirical Testing. In: Gallouj, F. and Djellal, F. eds. The Handbook of Innovation and Services: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 342-363. Available at: http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/the-handbook-of-innovation-and-services.
  • Howells, J. (2009). Regional development and technology. In: Kitchin, R. and Thrift, N. eds. International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Elsevier Science B.V, pp. 187-191.
    Technology is the body of know-how (in both tacit and codified forms of knowledge) about the means and methods of producing goods and services. Technology involves science, engineering, and design based knowledge, but also includes developing new methods of organization and practice. Regional development involves complex economic, technical, and social changes and is associated with economic growth, but also includes improvements related to wider administrative institutional, organizational, and political frameworks and operations. Technology, and more widely innovation, is a key element associated with this change and development process at a regional level. This change can however include economic decline as well as growth, as new products, processes, and methods challenge and force out older technologies and practices.
  • Howells, J. (2007). Services and Innovation: Conceptual and Theoretical Perspectives. In: Bryson, J. and Daniels, P. eds. The Handbook of Service Industries. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 34-44. Available at: http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/the-handbook-of-service-industries.
  • Howells, J., Tether, B. and Uyarra, E. (2007). Innovation in Business Services: From Technological Adoption to Multiple, Complementary, Concurrent Changes. In: Rubalcaba, L. and Kox, H. eds. Business Services in European Economic Growth. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 144-162. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230228795.
  • Howells, J. (2006). Industrial Consumption and Innovation. In: Green, K. and Randles, S. eds. Industrial Ecology and Spaces of Innovation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 203-219. Available at: http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/industrial-ecology-and-spaces-of-innovation.
  • Howells, J. (2006). Outsourcing for Innovation: Systems of Innovation and the Role of Knowledge Intermediaries. In: Miozzo, M. and Grimshaw, D. eds. Knowledge Intensive Business Services: Organizational Forms and National Institutions. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 61-81. Available at: http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/knowledge-intensive-business-services.
  • Howells, J. (2006). Innovation and Firm Consumption. A New Perspective?. In: Sundbo, J., Gallina, A., Serin, G. and Davis, J. eds. Contemporary Management of Innovation: Are We Asking the Right Questions?. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 89-109.


  • Robinson, C., Garcia Martinez, M., Howells, J. and Ko, G. (2020). The Role of Innovation in Small Business Performance: A Regional Perspective. Enterprise Research Centre. Available at: https://www.enterpriseresearch.ac.uk/our-work/publications/.
    The small and medium sized enterprise sector is seen as the engine of growth for an economy, in terms of generating innovation and employment growth. Firm entry can create pressure on incumbent firms and yet research on the transmission mechanisms, as they apply to small firms is less well understood, in part because of small firm ‘churn’ but also because they are less well represented in firm level survey data. The advent of the Longitudinal Small Business Survey (LSBS) goes a considerable way in allowing us to address this knowledge gap. This paper presents evidence using the latest waves of the LSBS data (2015-2017) combined with data on the regional environment in which small firms are located. We argue that city regional factors influence firm growth and performance and in particular the innovative environment of the firm. We find evidence of City Regional level effects but weak evidence in relation to specific channels for these effects, specialisation agglomerations appear to be positively associated with higher levels of labour productivity. Our findings suggest that more work is needed to understand what it is about the regional environment that fosters productivity improvements in small firms particularly in relation to innovation.

Edited book

  • Andersen, B., Howells, J. and Hull, R. eds. (2000). Knowledge and Innovation in the New Service Economy. [Online]. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Available at: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/knowledge-and-innovation-in-the-new-service-economy?___website=uk_warehouse.
    Knowledge and innovation are key factors contributing to growth and prosperity in the new service economy. This book presents original, empirical and theoretical contributions to address the economic dimensions of knowledge and the organisation of knowledge intensive activity through specialised services. Specific analyses include:

    • macro statistics to highlight the contribution of services to economic activity
    • firm level survey data to identify and consider client relations
    • case studies of four innovation-oriented business services.

    Further chapters deal with the specific functions connected with knowledge, the new discipline of ‘knowledge management’, intellectual property rights, and the role of knowledge in national and international economic systems.

    Offering an overview of a highly important and pervasive set of phenomena, this book outlines and illustrates the intellectual agenda associated with the rise of a global services economy. It will appeal to industrial and business economists, researchers, students, policymakers and business analysts.
  • Archibugi, D., Howells, J. and Michie, J. eds. (1999). Innovation Policy in a Global Economy. [Online]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/economics/economic-development-and-growth/innovation-policy-global-economy?format=HB#PU3T4TB1XKmDwfim.97.
    Innovation Policy in a Global Economy concludes the successful sequence of books on Globalisation and Technology edited by Daniele Archibugi and Jonathan Michie, following Technology, Globalisation and Economic Performance (Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Trade, Growth and Technical Change (Cambridge University Press, 1998). This final volume argues that the opportunities offered by globalisation will only be fully realised by organisations which have developed institutions that allow for the transfer, absorption, and use of knowledge. Innovation Policy in a Global Economy is relevant for graduate and undergraduate courses in management and business, economics, geography, international political economy, and innovation and technology studies. Presenting original theoretical and empirical research by leading international experts in an accessible style, Innovation Policy will be vital reading for researchers and students and of use to public policy professionals.
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