Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

Staff Profile

Dr Fiona Whitehurst

Senior Lecturer in Management and Director of Impact


Fiona has been with the Business School since completing her PhD in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University in 2006 and is now a Senior Lecturer and researcher in the Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE).

She is now Director of Impact, supporting academics in the Business School as they apply their research to make a difference to pressing problems in organisations, policy and wider society. She was also theme leader for the Enterprise in Society theme of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal until August 2018.

Fiona is currently leading a project called Captured, piloted with co-invest from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and part-funded by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) in 2017/18, which is exploring the ways in which anchor institutions, such as universities, business schools and large firms, can support small firms in their region to develop leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Captured was recognised by AACSB in April 2018 as one of 31 projects in their Innovations that Inspire Challenge.

From 2012 - 2016 Fiona was Director of Accreditation for the Business School, leading the School's successful drive to achieve triple accreditation from the three leading international bodies that quality assure the activities of Business Schools (EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA). Prior to that, she was appointed as Director of Engagement for the Business School in September 2009 and developed the MBA Sustainability Challenge with Procter & Gamble; the Herbert Loebl Export Academy with RTC North, HSBC and Ward Hadaway; and the Business of Sustainability Week with Santander.

Fiona graduated with a first class degree in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge in 1990 and subsequently worked in relationship banking for NatWest Bank for 9 years.

Bibliographic References

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Fiona_Whitehurst

ORCID ID:  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6481-0086

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=W-3WHCEAAAAJ&hl=en


Research Background

Fiona completed a PhD in Economic Geography at Newcastle University in 2005 looking at the use of clusters in economic development policy and retains a research interest in the interactions between firms, and other entities, particularly in the marine technology industries. She also has a strong research interest in regional economic development policy and the way in which firms interact with universities.

Current Work

Fiona's current research is practice-based and revolves around a development programme for micro-businesses. Fiona and her co-investigators, Paul Richter and Leigh Sear, see this research as interactive research, deliberately linking research (knowing) and practice (doing). Through participating in the programme participants gain value through their experiential learning (doing) and these experiences are used to provide the empirical material (via observations, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and surveys) to address underpinning research questions (knowing). 

Other Expertise

Fiona has been involved in a variety of research assignments including the mapping exercise for Creative Fuse North East, a five university project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Arts Council and European Development Fund; a report on Smart Specialisation in the North East of England for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership; an identification and assessment of sectoral strengths in the North East for the regional development agency One NorthEast; a study of the implications of an emerging regional policy for higher education in England for Universities UK and a study of the impact of the higher education institutions in the Yorkshire and the Humber Region for Yorkshire Universities. Work from her PhD contributed to an EU FP5 research project CRITICAL (City-Regions as Intelligent Territories: Inclusion, Competitiveness and Learning).

Fiona led an ESRC Business Engagement project aiming to identify the ways in which firms, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the subsea engineering sector could work together to promote their industrial sector and tailor skills provision for their requirements. This led to a collaborative project with Newcastle College and the development of two specialist subsea degrees, in addition to a range of practical activities to engage young people in the engineering sector. 

Fiona also held a curriculum development grant to produce a range of entrepreneurial video narratives for use in teaching across the university. This project led to a joint research project with Dr Janine Swail looking at student perceptions of entrepreneurship.

Esteem Indicators

Member of Subsea North East Executive Committee

Selected Funding

Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Creative Fuse North East £35,172 May 2016 to Oct 2018

UK Commission for Employment and Skills Captured £133,000 Oct 2015 to June 2016

EEF (Engineers Employers  Federation) Assessing the Need for a North East Apprentice and Skills Training Centre £10,000 July 2014 to March 2015

ESRC Business Engagement Funding £75,300 (April 2008-April 2009)

PhD Supervision

Alexia Mellor (third supervisor with Professors Vee Pollock and John Bowers) PhD Fine Art (Creative Practice)


NBS8035 Understanding and Managing Creativity

BUS3005 Advanced Business Topics