CIMR timeline and heritage

Since its inception, CIMR has been at the forefront of promoting research and fostering innovation amongst academics and practitioners which we are proud to work with.

Learn how CIMR has grown and flourished since 2008 with the below timeline.


  • The Centre for Innovation Management Research (CIMR) was established by our CIMR Director Helen Lawton Smith on 2008, who was running the Oxfordshire Economic Observatory (OEO) at The School of Geography, Oxford University and wanted to establish something similar at Birkbeck, University of London. The CIMR centre was originally founded by Helen together with Odile Janne and Birgitte Andersen, who took over as the CIMR Director when Helen became Head of the Department of Management (2008-2011).
  • Historic members: Simona Iammarino, Daniele Archibugi, Andrea Filippetti, Fred Guy, Klaus Nielsen and Grazia Ietto Gillies have been CIMR members since the inception of the centre. All of them are internationally recognised scholars and have contributed to CIMR’s international profile. They have written CIMR WPs, presented and organised CIMR Workshops.


  • The Wiley journal Strategic Change acquired the subtitle Briefings in Entrepreneurial Finance from January 2010 when it became sponsored by Birkbeck, University of London and based in CIMR Editor in Chief professor Carlo Milana, Associated Editor professor Helen Lawton Smith, Founder Michael Kianfar. In December 2022, a new Editor was appointed, and the link ended.


  • Prof. Birgitte Andersen, one of the Centre founders, founded and became the CEO Big Innovation Centre. The Big Innovation Centre is a London-based think-tank and innovation communications consultancy and business hub. Brigitte’s expertise in intellectual property rights and copyright is reflected in her continuing teaching at Birkbeck on her master’s module Intellectual Capital and Competitiveness. She held a big conference in London in 2011 linked to DIME and had a working paper series connected to it.
  • Helen returned to being CIMR Director
  • The CIMR Working Papers series was launched, with editors Helen Lawton Smith, Klaus Nielsen and Carlo Milana (January 2013 registered ISSN number, available on REPEC). The aim of this series was to publicise research being done by the CIMR members, including academics, PhD students, Research fellows, Visiting fellows, Stakeholders and visitors.
  • Marion Frenz and Ray Lambert published their First 2011 CIMR Working Paper: ‘Connected innovation: An international comparative study that identifies mixed modes of innovation’. This paper developed a typology of mixed modes of innovation – bundles of activities done by firms jointly to bring about new developments – and examined the role of the innovation modes in performance through the empirical analysis of innovation survey data from 18 OECD countries.


  • Luca Andriani published a CIMR WPSocial capital industrial districts and regional unemployment in ItalyThisconsiders the industrial districts “conductors” of social capital. Hence, the researchers use the regional density of industrial districts to measure social capital and we analyse its impact on regional unemployment in Italy.
  • Andrew Atter was appointed Entrepreneur-in-residence, reporting to Director of CIMR, funded by the BEI School. Andrew heads the Entrepreneurial Innovation Strategy which is an integrated strategy for fostering engagement, employability and accessibility in entrepreneurship, by bringing together students, faculty and the business community. This includes Student-led Enterprise Hub, an Entrepreneurial mentoring programme and SWEEP – a women’s entrepreneurs club. The Founding President and initiator MSc Business Innovation Students, Hasan Siber. He was followed as President by Ning Baines. The EIR left and the Enterprise Hub was closed in July 2014 following removal of BEI School funding.



  • Federica Rossi and Marion Frenz were officially appointed as Deputy Directors, playing a pivotal role on expanding further the centre collaboration with keynote practitioners and international universities, as well as supporting further the dissemination of the member’s research activity
  • Muthu De Silva joined the Centre becoming one of our most engaged members contributing on raising the Centre profile amongst national and international leading organisation involved on innovation and policy making.


  • In 2016 CIMR hosted the Uddevalla Symposium:  Geography, Diversity, and Entrepreneurship  Federica Rossi and Fred Guy organised a policy panel.



  • Introduction of ‘CIMR Debates in Public Policy’ series – this was launched to bring together academics, entrepreneurs, researchers and policy makers during the pandemic to debate themes around innovation, inclusive entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance and digital transformation.  Originally conceived as providing an alternative digital way of meeting and sharing knowledge when in-person events were not possible, the series has enjoyed growing audiences and has fostered greater visibility and engagement for the Centre. The series includes at least three Debates per term. In July 2023 the series counted 46 online Debates
  • First CIMR termly newsletter December 2020
  • CIMR Launched a series of video interviews ‘CIMR Research in Brief video series’ and CIMR PhD ‘Research in Focus video series’ with its members to discuss their research and PhD work spanning a variety of topics, from entrepreneurship and diversity to innovation and technology. All available here:


  • The CIMR Working Paper series reached WP number 50 with the publication of Daniele Archibugi and Vitantonio Mariella’s paper ‘Is a European Recovery possible without High-Tech Public Corporations?’. In 2021, the CIMR Working Paper series published an all time high of 11 working papers in a year.
  • CIMR played a key role in Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics being awarded the Small Business Charter accreditation in December. As well as the outstanding support given to student entrepreneurs, the work of CIMR was recognised: “the stature, relevance, and impact of Birkbeck’s research for policy makers is exemplary”. A development of this will be an enhanced focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses in our future
  • Launched a quarterly series of ‘CIMR Research in Focus’ curated blogs, providing a guided introduction to CIMR’s events and research updates in the previous quarter. The series is available here:
  • CIMR formally established a collaboration with Vaasa University, Finland. Its origins lie in long-term formal and informal academic engagement between several CIMR colleagues including Professor Helen Lawton Smith and Dr Muthu De Silva (Birkbeck) and Professor Martin Meyer who is now Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship InnoLab, University of Vaasa, Finland. He is a long-standing Visiting Fellow of CIMR.



  • CIMR reaches 400 followers on its LinkedIn account, showing a 300% followers increase in one year
  • CIMR introduces its LinkedIn Quarterly Newsletter ‘This Term at CIMR’, a termly update on key research activities, events, awards and more from its CIMR community
  • CIMR celebrate 15 years of activity with a dedicated event and campaign