NAIT welcomes applied research chair in new venture and entrepreneurship
Dr. Geoff Gregson has been appointed JR Shaw Applied Research Chair in New Venture and Entrepreneurship. He begins his tenure at NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business today.
This marks a homecoming of sorts for the University of Alberta grad, who has worked in the United Kingdom for the last 15 years, most recently as a director of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Entrepreneurship Research.
“This is one of the most dynamic economies in North America, with Alberta a catalyst for economic growth in Canada,” said Gregson.
That’s one of the reasons he’s looking forward to working at NAIT. “This is a really exciting time for NAIT, as the polytechnic is well-positioned to play a major part in the Alberta success story going forward, particularly on the innovation and entrepreneurship side. I also think there are uncharted waters here where I feel I can contribute.”
Gregson’s diverse experience includes work as an entrepreneur, manager, business consultant for technology-based companies and researcher and university lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation. He brings a strong international perspective to his new position at NAIT, having managed research projects and worked as a consultant in the UK, European Union, Central Asia, Uganda, Colombia and Sri Lanka. A common theme to his research has been its application to practice, policy and theory.
“Geoff has a proven ability to build relationships spanning academia and industry,” says JR Shaw School of Business interim dean Tad Drinkwater. “His passion for applied research will accelerate our efforts to foster creativity, innovation and new ventures to address real-world challenges.
Students from business, trades, health, engineering and IT programs will benefit from applied research opportunities, curriculum additions and capstone projects in new venture and entrepreneurship, Drinkwater adds. This supports NAIT’s vision to be one of the world’s leading polytechnics.
Gregson began his career with an undergrad degree in physical education from the University of Alberta, but chose the oil-patch after graduation, working on drilling rigs in the Canadian Arctic and throughout central and northern Alberta.
He left the rigs to become associate director of Edmonton’s downtown YMCA in the mid-1980s, eventually moving south to head up the University of Calgary’s new fitness and lifestyle centre, which was part of the U of C’s redevelopment for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Gregson later moved to Canmore and started two businesses before deciding to pursue an MBA at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. Following his MBA, Gregson was appointed project manager with the Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corporation in Calgary. He was subsequently awarded a British Chevening Scholarship to pursue his doctorate at the University of Edinburgh, where he has remained since 1999.
Gregson’s research at Edinburgh included evaluating the effectiveness of programs that support entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and new venture creation.
In his new role as applied research chair, Gregson says he’ll be seeking new opportunities that will benefit industry, NAIT students, staff and faculty and the wider community.
The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With more than 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.
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