Sarah Cooper Headshot

Personal Chair in Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development, Director of Faculty & Deputy Dean

+44 (0)131 651 5247

Roles and Responsibilities

Since joining the School in 2008 Sarah has played a key role in management and leadership within the School through a number of positions which include:

Deputy Dean and Director of Faculty for the University of Edinburgh Business School since 2019.
Head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group from 2016 to 2019.
School Representative on College (CAHSS) Academic Promotions Committee (now part of Deputy Dean/Director of Faculty role) since 2016.
Director of Undergraduate (UG) Programmes from 2011 to 2014.
Academic Champion for India from 2014 to 2018.
Lead academic on the Scottish Programme for Entrepreneurship from 2008 to 2012.
Year Head - Head of 3rd Year of the Undergraduate Programme from 2009 to 2011.


Sarah joined the University of Edinburgh Business School as a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship in September 2008 and was promoted to her Personal Chair in 2013. Prior to joining the University of Edinburgh Sarah held a Senior Lectureship in Entrepreneurship in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde and a Lectureship in Strategy at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Sarah holds a BA (Hons) in Geography from the University of Nottingham and a PhD from Heriot-Watt University, which she was awarded in 1997 for her work on the location of high technology small firms.

Sarah's teaching experience spans undergraduate, postgraduate (MSc, MBA and PhD/EngD) and continuing professional development communities in the UK, China and United Arab Emirates. She has worked extensively in the area of technology commercialisation with Masters and Doctoral students from science and engineering, and with MBA and continuing professional development groups in the field of new venture creation. She has designed, developed and delivered curriculum-based courses in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology commercialisation and sustainable business, as well as extracurricular short courses and Summer School programmes on enterprise and business skills, both in the UK and overseas.

Sarah was a founder member, with William Lucas - MIT, of the Education and High Growth Innovation research group, a collaboration between colleagues from five UK universities and MIT, supported initially by the Cambridge-MIT Institute. The group's work explored the influence of educational programmes and other forms of intervention on the motivation and capability of individuals to engage in entrepreneurial behaviour, both starting new ventures and leading innovation in existing organisations. The group's original focus on university students was broadened to include study of programmes involving, amongst others, high school pupils and mid-career women interested in venturing.  With William Lucas, Sarah has undertaken programme assessment work for a number of public-sector and educational institutions in the UK and Australia. Programmes evaluated include Enterprisers (UK and Australia), Encouraging Dynamic Global Entrepreneurs (EDGE for Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire, UK) and Young Enterprise Scotland's Company Programme (UK). Papers based on their work on entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial self-efficacy and intent have won prizes at a number of international conferences, in addition to forming the basis of a number of publications. 

Other areas of research interest include the role of intellectual and social capital, absorptive capacity and networks in the establishment and development of new ventures and entrepreneurial ecosystems, with work focusing on the UK, Canada, Jordan, India and Spain; the role of learning and knowledge flows in inter-organisational collaboration and regional development, in contexts including Canada and the UK; and the role of women entrepreneurs in family and non-family firms. Sarah has collaborated with scholars from a range of countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Jordan, India, Sweden and Spain.

Research Interests

Sarah's main research interests lie in entrepreneurship and new venture creation, with the principal streams focusing on entrepreneurship, innovation and growth in technology businesses and influences on individual motivation and capability to engage in entrepreneurial behaviour. Her technology-oriented work, on sectors as diverse as advanced material, biotechnology, software and electronics, has been undertaken in contrasting regional environments in the United Kingdom and North America. Her recent work on technology-based venturing explores learning and knowledge transfer in regional technology clusters, and in particular the role of networks and networking on the development of male and female-owned ventures.

Sarah's second stream of complementary research investigates entrepreneurial self-efficacy and intent. Her work explores how both might be developed through various types of intervention, including education, where different pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning have the potential to deliver contrasting outcomes.

Research Fingerprint

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Works Within

Research Area