Sarah Cooper Headshot

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

+44 (0)131 651 5247


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. She is a member of the School's Centre for Entrepreneurship Research. 

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.

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's teaching experience spans undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development communities in the UK and United Arab Emirates. She has worked extensively in the area of Technology Commercialisation with Masters and Doctoral students from engineering and science and with MBA and continuing professional development groups in the field of New Venture Creation.

Sarah is 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 has 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 entrepreneurial self-efficacy and intent have won prizes at several international conferences, in addition to forming the basis of a number of publications.

Research Taxonomy

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.

Works Within

Research Area