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Dr David Johnson

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship

Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Business School
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Dr David Johnson is an Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship at Durham University Business School, Durham University. Additionally, he is the Associate Chair for Durham University Business School's Smart & Scale initiative, which is a £9 million impact-driven research programme in smart and scale-up activities, designed to support SME innovation, resilience, and economic development in the North-East of England. David is also the Full-Time MBA Programme Director and Co-Director of the Durham Enterprise Centre. Furthermore, David is a Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing and was previously a Visiting Research Fellow at Interface, a university-industry brokerage organisation that connects businesses with academics for economic and societal benefit.

David's research is centred on academic entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and university-industry engagement activities. More specifically, he studies science commercialisation activities (e.g., regenerative medicine commercialisation) at the university-industry boundary to understand how individual-level and organisational-level factors influence both the generation and development of university-centred entrepreneurial ecosystems. This research has led David to Visiting Scholar positions at The Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison (US) and The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Moscow, Russia).

To date, David has raised in excess of £150,000 in research funding. His most recent grant is a proof-of-concept project, which is exploring the commercial development of a cardiology-focused point-of-care device.

Prior to joining Durham University, David was an Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship at the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow. Prior to this, David spent over a decade working within the pharmaceutical sector within Commercial and Strategy Consulting roles. He was a Commercial Director for a start-up biopharmaceutical strategy consultancy and health data analytics firm. David led on the organisation's commercial activity, including strategy consulting to university spin-outs and early-stage life science organisations. He also led the firm's health data compliance consulting, advising US clients on the risks associated with personal health information (PHI) disclosure and anonymity. Additionally, David has worked for leading global pharmaceutical companies within Sales and Business Development.

David holds Science-based Undergraduate and Masters Degrees from the University of Leeds (UK) and The University of Edinburgh (UK), which included research at the Roslin Institute. Furthermore, he holds an MBA from the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow (UK). He also holds an MSc. by Research (in Entrepreneurship) from the University of Edinburgh Business School (UK). David obtained his PhD in Management (Entrepreneurship and Innovation) from the University of Edinburgh Business School (UK). David also holds a PG Cert in Learning, Teaching, and Assessment Practice and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

David serves on the Editorial Review Board of the Academy of Management Perspectives. He was previously a Non-Executive Director and Trustee at the Board of Management at Borders College, and was the Vice Chair of the Regional Board. David has also served on the Board of Directors at the Veterinary Management Group - the UK’s leading representative body for veterinary professionals working in leadership and management roles.

Research interests

  • Academic Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer
  • Business models in high-technology sectors
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Life science commercialisation
  • Science-based business
  • University-centred entrepreneurial ecosystems

Esteem Indicators

  • 2023: Visiting Research Fellow: Interface, Edinburgh, UK:
  • 2023: Editorial Review Board: The Academy of Management Perspectives:
  • 2023: Associate Chair of Durham University Business School's Smart and Scale Initiative:
  • 2023: Co-Director Durham Enterprise Centre:
  • 2023: Fellow - Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing:
  • 2022: Vice Chair of the Regional Board: Borders College, Scottish Borders, UK:
  • 2022: Board of Directors: The Veterinary Management Group:
  • 2015: Visiting Research Fellow: The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (MIT-Skoltech Initiative), Russia:
  • 2014: Visiting Research Scholar: The Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA:


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