ISBE Award two new Fellows for 2023.

ISBE is delighted to announce the appointment of two new Fellows in recognition of their significant contribution to the Institute and their outstanding record of past achievements.

Professor Robert Blackburn, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Liverpool Management School and Director of the Brett Centre for Entrepreneurship

Professor Robert Blackburn is a highly distinguished entrepreneurship Professor and is currently a Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Liverpool Management School and Director of the Brett Centre for Entrepreneurship. Throughout his career, Professor Blackburn has been a keen supporter of ISBE and regularly attended the annual conference.  His research interests include examining the behaviour of small firms, the people involved (self-employed, entrepreneurs, business owners), their motivations and ambitions, strategies and interactions with their environments.  He has a strong track record of securing external research funding from a range of sponsors, including national and international, public and private organisations.  He has published work with people across the world, including practitioners, policy-makers, consultants, and researchers at various career stages; from world-leading authorities through to early career researchers. He has published studies in all the leading entrepreneurship journals including Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice and Journal of Business Venturing. In his career to date, he has achieved over 10K in career google scholar citations with a h index of 42 and an I index of 101. This is clear evidence of a scholar who has made a significant and ongoing global impact. Moreover, Professor Blackburn achievements have been recognised by several significant awards including:

  • Fellowship (Chartered Association of Business Schools, 2022)
  • Cooper Medal for Outstanding Contribution & Leadership (British Academy of Management, 2022)
  • European ENSR Fellow (European Network for Social and Economic Research, 2020)
  • ECSB Fellow (European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2020)
  • Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion (HM Government, The Queen’s Award Office, 2011).

Professor Blackburn has an extensive network of colleagues and stakeholders across research and practitioner communities. The nominee is an active researcher in the Entrepreneurship discipline both in the UK and globally. Professor Blackburn is recognised as an expert in entrepreneurship particularly with regard to the behaviour of small firms. The nominee regularly contributes research to the ISBE conference, encourages his doctoral students to attend and regularly supports symposia and other events.  Professor Blackburn would be an excellent ambassador for ISBE in future years and a great individual to draw upon and mentor other academics within ISBE. 

Professor Blackburn is a globally renowned Entrepreneurship academic with global connections within the academic world. Professor Blackburn makes several notable contributions to the entrepreneurship academic community.  For example, he serves as tje Treasurer of the Society of the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS).  He has also served on the RAE (2008) and the REF (2014) Business and Management sub-panels and was Chair for UoA17, Business and Management and membership of Main panel C for REF 2021. He is currently the Editor-in-chief of the International Small Business Journal ( and serves on the editorial board of several journals in the field of entrepreneurship. He is also the Series Editor of the Routledge Studies in Entrepreneurship and Small Business books.


Professor Eleanor Shaw, Dean of the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School

Professor Eleanor Shaw is globally recognised for her research on the resources needed to establish and grow entrepreneurial ventures. Her research identified the unequal access to entrepreneurial resources experienced by under-represented founders, including female entrepreneurs; revealed the long term, detrimental impact of this under-capitalisation on the growth of their firms; and highlighted the loss of GDP and job creation experienced by the UK economy as a consequence. As an engaged researcher, Eleanor has dedicated her career to producing high quality research that is: funded by prestigious research councils (more than £6M); published in globally leading journals; used to inform innovations in impactful entrepreneurial education; and to advise on entrepreneurial policies and interventions.

Her research informed the UK Government’s Enterprise Strategy (2008) and the subsequent introduction of a £12.5million capital co-investment fund for women (Aspire Co-Investment Fund, 2009). In a further study, her research provided evidence for the Women’s Enterprise Taskforce (2007- 2009), set up by HM Treasury & BIS to advise on supporting growth-oriented women-led UK ventures. The impact of this research is detailed in a Case Study submitted to the 2014 UK Government Research Excellence Framework (REF). Eleanor’s research has continued to inform the framing of enterprise policy and has informed the independent review of women’s enterprise in Scotland (Pathways, February, 2023), the Rose Review, and The Gender Index (TGI).

Her research informed the design and delivery of the Growth Advantage Programme (GAP) – a practise-focused enterprise education programme which develops the leadership capacity of founders, supporting the scale-up of their ventures. Since 2015, under her leadership, GAP has supported 6 cohorts of 93 founders to successfully scale their firms, and GAP has been endorsed by the ScaleUp Institute as the only Scottish, and only one of two growth programmes offered by a UK university. Details of the research underpinning GAP and its impact on the broader Scottish entrepreneurial ecosystem are captured in the ImpactCaseStudy submitted to REF (2021). In 2019 Eleanor initiated the development of the only institution-wide entrepreneurship strategy of any Scottish University and one of a handful of UK Higher Education Institutions. Branded as Strathclyde Inspire, the cornerstones of this strategy are to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of students and staff through exposure to entrepreneurial learning experiences, and entrepreneurial role models, and crucially for academic researchers, to support the commercialisation of their innovations. Since its launch, Inspire has annually doubled the number of spinouts and licenses, invested in more than 22 new ventures, and is currently supporting 118 early-stage innovation-driven ventures.

In addition to her work with the ScaleUp of Institute and The Gender Index, Eleanor is an elected member of the Chartered Association of Business School’s Council and sits on the Board of the Small Business Charter. She led the analysis undertaken for the recent Stewart Review (Scottish Government’s Independent Analysis of Women’s underrepresentation in Business Ownership) and informed the recommendations set out in this. Eleanor has had a long-term affiliation with ISBE and since the late 1990s has served on the ISBE board and established and contributed to a number of its Special Interest Groups.

Eleanor also has a long-established record of engagement in voluntary service, with current board positions in the Beatson Cancer Charity and Enable and previous positions at Impact Arts and Glasgow Women’s Aid, all passionate areas of interest.

Across her career Eleanor has mentored, advocated for, supported and amplified female leadership within the HE sector and beyond. For example, she was integral to implementing the Strathclyde Leading Forward lecture series in 2019, in collaboration with the Royal Bank of Scotland, using her passion for diversity and achieving equity for women entrepreneurs and leaders to make the lecture series a success. As the most senior female academic on the University of Strathclyde’s Executive Team, she has evidenced the respect of her peers and become a role model in the field, in part due to her pragmatic and upbeat but principled and impactful leadership style. Eleanor very recently was appointed (August 2023) Dean of the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, a position that makes her the first ever female Dean of the School.


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