Honouring Prof Klaus Nielsen: A Distinguished Academic and Researcher

In the realm of academia, there are certain individuals who leave an indelible mark on the institutions they serve and the students they inspire. Prof Klaus Nielsen is undoubtedly one of those remarkable individuals, who is retiring after over 20 years of dedicated service at Birkbeck, University of London, and has been a valuable asset to the Centre for Innovation Management Research (CIMR) since 2008.

Through his dedication to teaching, research, management and his impactful contributions at CIMR, Prof. Nielsen has left an indelible mark on the academic community. Let us delve into his journey and the invaluable contributions he has made during his tenure.

Teaching Excellence, Research Focus and Management

Prof. Nielsen’s impact on Birkbeck, University of London, can be witnessed through his commitment to nurturing the next generation of management scholars. His teaching expertise encompassed a wide range of modules, including “Research Methods in Management (Postgraduate)”, “Innovation Systems: Networks and Social Capita” and “Business in the European Union”. Through these modules, he instilled in his students a profound understanding of research methodologies and fostered their ability to navigate the complex world of management and innovation.

Throughout his career, Prof. Nielsen’s research interests have revolved around institutional economics and other institutional approaches in the social sciences. His work delved into the intricate dynamics of social capital, innovation, competitiveness, socio-economic discourse, and economic performance. Prof. Nielsen’s contributions to these fields have shed light on the complex interplay between institutions, social structures, and economic development, providing valuable insights for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners alike. In addition, Prof. Nielsen has research interests that goes beyond the topics of CIMR. He has a long-lasting interest in the economics and sociology of sport and has also been engaged in research projects about Chinese business and economics.   

He has authored/edited 24 books and published more than 150 journal articles and research reports. Among his publications, two publications stand out as major contributions to the literature. One is about social capital, innovation and the theory of the firm: “Social Capital and the Resource-based view of the Firm”. The other is about the economics of sports: “Soft Budget Constraints in Professional Football”

In the field of innovation management, two publications are particularly notable. He contributed articles about social capital and innovation that contributed to set the scene in this branch of literature including “Social Capital and Innovation Policy”. Further, a recent publication “The Impact of Population Pressure on Global Fertiliser Use Intensity, 1970–2011: An Analysis of Policy-Induced Mediation” stands out as a testament to Prof Nielsen’s ability to bridge theoretical insights with real-world implications. His examination of the Danish sports model in “Can a Small Nation be Competitive in the Global Sporting Arms Race? The Case of Denmark” showcased his interdisciplinary approach to research, blending management and sport studies. His most recent co-edited book is “Professional Team Sports and the Soft Budget Constraint” (2022).

Prof. Nielsen has had major management and administrative roles in the department including Postgraduate Teaching Director in a four-year period, Director for the PhD programme, member of several College committees. Not least he has been Chair of the Business Innovation and Creative Industries Subject Development Group since the group was established. In this role as well as being director of eight programmes and convenor of six modules in the field he has had a leading role in the development and coordination of teaching within innovation and creative industries within the department.

CIMR Contributions: WP Editor, Alumni Officer and Event Organisation

Within the Centre for Innovation Management Research, Prof. Nielsen played a pivotal role as an editor of the working papers. His keen eye for detail, analytical acumen, and dedication to advancing research excellence significantly contributed to the publication and dissemination of valuable knowledge. Additionally, as the alumni officer, Prof. Nielsen fostered a strong sense of community among CIMR’s former students, creating a network that continues to thrive long after their time at Birkbeck.

One of Prof. Nielsen’s most notable contributions was his active involvement in organizing and participating in numerous online debates and workshops at CIMR. These events served as vibrant platforms for scholars, practitioners, and students to engage in intellectually stimulating discussions and exchange cutting-edge ideas. Prof. Nielsen’s enthusiasm and passion for fostering collaborative environments enriched these gatherings, making them invaluable opportunities for knowledge dissemination and the exploration of innovative concepts.

Prof. Nielsen’s comments on his engagement and contributions at CIMR:

“As the working paper editor, alumni officer, and contributor for events organization at the Centre for Innovation Management Research (CIMR), I have witnessed first-hand the transformative power of collaborative knowledge exchange and the impact it has on shaping the future of innovation. Each working paper represents a stepping stone towards unlocking new insights and driving positive change in the field of innovation management. Engaging with talented researchers, dedicated alumni, and organizing thought-provoking events has been a privilege, as it creates a vibrant ecosystem where ideas flourish, networks thrive, and innovation knows no boundaries. The research centre has an impressive network of national and international contacts in academia, governments, companies and other organizations in addition to the Birkbeck staff of highly promising and very productive researchers. CIMR stands as a beacon of innovation, and I have been honoured to be a part of this dynamic community.”

As we bid farewell to Prof Klaus Nielsen, we express our heartfelt gratitude for his unwavering commitment to academic excellence, his invaluable contributions to CIMR and Birkbeck, University of London, and his dedication to the advancement of innovation management research. His impact will be felt for years to come, and his presence will be dearly missed. We wish him a fulfilling and joyful retirement, knowing that his contributions to the field will continue to resonate and inspire others to pursue their academic passions.

It may not be a full retirement from CIMR though. Prof. Nielsen will continue as Emeritus Professor and has indicated that he is eager to continue to contribute to the debates and other activities in CIMR.

1 Comment

  1. I have co-taught with Prof. Nielsen on the postgraduate research methods module for seven years. He is such a wonderful teacher, colleague and leader. His professional approach to some big challenges during the course of our collaboration is admirable. It’s not easy for me to bid a farewell but I wish him all the best to his retirement, with some eventful new adventures.

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