We are pleased to announce that Professor Per Davidsson has been awarded the 2021 Karl Vesper Pioneer Award for his pioneering research in the field of entrepreneurship. Created in 2008, the award is given to an individual who epitomizes the concept of an 'academic entrepreneur' – a person who with passion and perseverance has enabled entrepreneurship to expand both in its reach and impact. The recipient is a role model for faculty and others devoted to the dissemination of the entrepreneurial mindset. The Karl Vesper Pioneer Award winner is selected annually by a committee consisting of all the former winners and is awarded in conjunction with the annual Experiential Classroom.
Per Davidsson is the Talbot Family Foundation Professor in entrepreneurship at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and professor of entrepreneurship at the Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) in Sweden. He graduated with a PhD in 1989, entering a practically non-existing field of research only to find himself being "relatively senior" in the then booming field of entrepreneurship research just a few years later. He was recruited to the academic start-up JIBS at its inauguration in 1994 taking the role of full professor; a rank he formally reached in 1996. He was one of the key actors in JIBS' incredible journey to international fame in less than a decade. While retaining an affiliation with JIBS to this day, he emigrated to Australia in 2004, where he never learnt to surf but founded and led the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research (ACE) and renamed and reshaped the ACERE conference among other vehicles to elevate the level and international presence of Australian entrepreneurship research. His prolific research contributions have earned him an honorary doctorate (Leuphana, Germany) and The Australian Research Supplement (2018) declared him #1 in lifetime achievement among Australian scholars in Business, Economics & Management. His 2015 article in Journal of Business Venturing is the best-cited paper since its publication in what is regularly seen as the #1 journal in entrepreneurship and sets the foundation for his current main interest: external enablement of entrepreneurial action and success. This addresses how changes to the business environment-be they technological, regulatory, sociocultural, demographic, natural-environmental or otherwise-can be strategically leveraged in business development. Again increasing his engagement with JIBS while remaining resident in Australia, he plans to spend the greater part of his remaining career pursuing this important topic, which has been neglected in recent decades.
Michael H. Morris, Ph.D.
Professor, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation
Editor, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship
Keough School of Global Affairs
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University of Notre Dame
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