Congratulations to CIMR PhD student Maximillian Giehrl

Congratulations to CIMR PhD student Maximillian Giehrl, who has completed his PhD in Management at Birkbeck, University of London, in July 2023. Maximillian’s PhD thesis was titled “Overcoming Absorptive Capacity Barriers: The Role of Innovation Intermediaries as Enablers and Beneficiaries of Funded Collaboration Projects in the Digital Sector”.

As innovation drivers and policy instruments, innovation intermediaries have an essential role in digitalisation. The thesis explores their role within funded collaboration projects in digitalisation, analysing five representative project cases. Based on 27 interviews with intermediaries from several European countries and their clients, the concept of absorptive capacity serves as the conceptual framework for a context-drive and knowledge transfer-related comparative case study.

Thereby, important insights could be gained which show both the barriers the intermediary’s clients face and the specific intermediary interactions to overcome them conceptualised to five absorptive capacity components. Further, the occurring financial and non-financial benefits of the involved intermediaries became apparent.

This thesis reveals the benefits but also the dependence of intermediaries on funded projects. It outlines the requirements for their role in digitalisation and the powerful influence of the project context. This importance of contextual factors indicates the limitations of overarching approaches regarding the role of intermediaries. The thesis further demonstrates the substantial value of intermediaries to potential clients.

Maximillian’s PhD project was supervised by Dr Federica Rossi and Prof Muthu de Silva. The CIMR team wishes to congratulate Maximilian on his successful PhD completion! We are also grateful to the examiners, Prof Omar Al Tabbaa and Dr Grace Bo Peng.