Nottingham University Business School
  • Print

Peter Swann

MA (St Andrews), MSc (Bristol), PhD (London School of Economics)
Emeritus Professor ( Industrial Economics Division)


Peter is a retired Professor of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School. Previously he was Professor of Economics and Management of Innovation at Manchester Business School, and Associate Professor of Economics at London Business School. He studied at St Andrews University in Scotland (MA) and the London School of Economics (PhD). He has been researching and teaching the economics of innovation since 1980 and is the author of 8 books and over 100 articles, chapters and reports.

He has held several advisory positions including: Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Lords Committee on Science and Technology; member of the Academic Panel of the UK Government's Innovation Review; adviser to a CBI Working Party on "Clusters"; and member of the Design Council's Research Advisory Board. He has carried out many studies for government departments and international agencies including DTI, BIS, Cabinet Office, Home Office, OECD and EU.

He shared the first Rybczynski Memorial Prize for Economics Writing, awarded by the Society of Business Economists and KPMG, and the first A.T. Kearney Award for Teaching Excellence at Manchester Business School in 2001. He was founding and managing editor of the journal, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, and Co-ordinator of the ESRC Programme on New Technologies and the Firm.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2005, "for services to business and economic policy".

One stream of research asks, how does innovation create wealth- A traditional story is that innovation creates wealth by enhancing productivity, but careful examination of a wide range of innovations finds that this is not the most important mechanism by which innovation creates wealth. Indeed, the most benign effects of innovation on wealth often operate through very different mechanisms.

A second stream of work looks at how various parts of the publicly funded industrial infrastructure can help innovation. In particular, I have examined the role of the national measurement system and the public standards infrastructure in supporting innovation. This work finds that open measurement technologies facilitate the division of labour and innovation, and that standards frequently enable innovation even if they also impose constraints on the innovator.

My most recent work is starting to look at different models of university-business interaction, their advantages and problems. This work suggests that simple models of "technology transfer" and "customer-contractor" relationships are generally not the most effective designs for such interaction.


Nottingham University Business School

Jubilee Campus

Contact us