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Professor Gordon Murray OBE

Professor Gordon Murray OBE

Emeritus Professor of Management (Entrepreneurship)


+44 (0) 1392 724501

Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

Gordon Murray is Professor Emeritus in Management (Entrepreneurship) at the University of Exeter Business School. Former academic positions include being a full-time faculty member of both Warwick and London Business Schools. Particular long-term research interests include: public policy support for high potential and innovative young firms; how national venture capital (VC) industries have evolved over time; the role of government policy actions in VC and Business Angel (BA) industry development; entrepreneurship policy formation; the identification and support of high growth young firms (‘gazelles’) and the genesis, growth and internationalisation of new technology-based firms.

Dr Murray has provided specialist advice and published research reports on the financing of enterprise/innovation policy to the UK government’s Enterprise Directorate and HM Treasury, the UK’s National Audit Office, the British, European and Australian Venture Capital Associations, the European Commission, the Finnish Ministries of Education and the Economy, the New Zealand Government and the Australian Commonwealth Government. He has been involved in the formal evaluations of enterprise and innovation related, public policy programmes in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In 2010, he became involved in a review of venture capital policy for the Chinese government in a project involving Tsinghua University Beijing and managed by the World Bank and the CPR Ministry of Finance. In the same year he was invited to be on an expert panel assessing the Innovation Policy plans of the Finnish government. In 2014, he and Professor Cowling evaluated the Danish public VC activities of the Vaekstfonden (Danish Growth Fund) programme at the invitation of the Danish government. In 2015, Professor Murray was invited by the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis (under the aegis of the Swedish Ministry of Trade and Industry) to manage an expert international team of academics advising Tillvaktanalys in designing the final evaluation of the Swedish Co-Investment Fund Initiative. Additional evaluation work is also being done on the EU’s demand for venture capital Fund of Fund resources for DG-Research. In 2016, the World Bank has asked Professors Murray and Marc Cowling to help advise on the creation and operational details of a Seed VC Co-investment Fund in Croatia.

A new area of work is focused on Crowdfunding and particularly Equity Crowdfunding. This new direction is consistent with over 20 years of work on entrepreneurial finance. He has been an active participant in NESTA meetings in this area and in 2015 was invited to produce a briefing paper (20pp) on the policy implications of crowdfunding regulation for the Australian Commonwealth government via the Institute of Public Accounts. He is currently writing a review paper (Ten Meditations on Public VC) on the lessons that 40 years of UK venture capital and business angel focused government policy may have for equity crowdfunding.

He has been a member of several expert working groups in the area of financing early-stage enterprise, and has co-authored over a dozen government published research reports, several book chapters, and a substantial number of peer reviewed, journal articles in top tier academic journals, including Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of International Business Studies, Research Policy, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Small Business Economics, and International Small Business Journal.

An over-riding professional interest is to forge stronger links between the international academic research community and the architects of public policy in areas of enterprise and innovation. In his areas of expertise, Professor Murray is a supporter of appropriate, informed and (critically) rigorously evaluated, government intervention. Similarly, Professor Murray is interested in the platforms by which in cross-border policy learning can be encouraged. By such means, it is hoped that the term ‘evidence-based policy’ can become more than an often over-used and under-applied political statement. Professor Murray was also a founder (academic) member of the Research Advisory Board of the British Venture Capital and Private Equity Association in 2012. He is currently an invited expert adviser to the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (

In June 2012, Professor Murray was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to business in HRM Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List.

Academic & Career History

  • B.Sc. (Hons) Food Science (2.1), University of Nottingham, 1967-70
  • P/G Diploma in Economics (Distinction), University of East Anglia, 1976
  • PhD in Development Studies University of East Anglia, 1981 (Awarded one of only four national SSRC Doctoral Fellowships for 3 year tenure.  Doctoral thesis subject was the study of the capital/finance structures of UK agricultural co-operatives and their implications on institutional behaviour and performance)
  • MBA, London Business School, 1987 (three year, executive MBA)

Employment History

  • Unilever Management Trainee 1965-67
  • Voluntary Services Overseas, Tanzania (Exec. Secretary to Freedom from Hunger aid agency) 1971-72
  • Imperial Tobacco Group/Imperial Foods (graduate entry, food industry) 1972-75
  • Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation (Eastern Region manager of a governmental support/grant body for UK agriculture) 1980-85
  • Food from Britain (Head of Research and adviser to Chairman of a UK agri-food industry, governmental promotion agency) 1985-88

In 1988, I decided to change my career at the age of 41 and become a full-time academic.  This involved a fundamental and very challenging change of discipline and subject interest.  Joined Warwick Business School, University of Warwick in 1988 prior to moving to London Business School in 1999 and University of Exeter in 2003.

Warwick Business School, UK (1988 – 1999)

  • Teaching Fellow in Small & Medium Enterprise Centre, 1988-89
  • Lecturer in Marketing and Strategic Management, 1989-96
  • Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Strategic Management, 1996-99

London Business School, UK (1999 to 2003)

  • Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship Department,  1999-2003

University of Exeter Business School (2003 - current)

  • Professor of Management (Entrepreneurship) - 2003-15
  • Emeritus Professor of Management (Entrepreneurship) – from 2015

Nationality: British

Research interests

I am currently an Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter. The majority of my professional time is spent on government policy-related enquiries on Entrepreneurial Finance.  I have been involved with several official evaluations of government programmes as the external expert on venture capital. My remaining professional time is allocated to research activities (including related consultancy projects) with long term academic co-authors including professors Marc Cowling, Regis Coeurderoy and Marrku Maula. Projects have a strong policy interests and focus on Entrepreneurship/ Innovation subjects related to young innovative companies. Major project collaborations have recently been conducted in Australia, China, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the UK.

External positions

  • Founder Member of the British Venture Capital Association's Research Advisory Board
  • Formal Expert Reviewer of the Australian Government's Innovation Investment Fund
  • Independent Expert Reviewer of the New Zealand Government's Venture Investment Fund
  • Member of the UK's Rowland's Panel on Development Finance for SMEs
  • Member of the South West Regional Development Agency's Economists' Panel
  • Member of the Department of Innovation and Skills's Access to Finance Expert Group (formerly member of UK's Small Business Service advisory team)
  • Member of the EC's DG Research Gazelles Expert Group
  • Member of the EC's DG Enterprise Risk Capital Expert Group
  • Member of the EC's Enterprise Policy Group
  • Member of the British Venture Capital Association's Research Advisory Board
  • Member of the six person international team for the Evaluation of the Finnish National Innovation System at the invitation of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy
  • Formal evaluation of government policy actions for the UK, Irish and Finnish governments
  • Member of Rowlands' Growth Capital Review Advisory Panel for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills
  • Occasional advisor to HM Treasury, DIUS, NESTA, National Audit Office on SME issues
  • Occasional advisor to the Finnish, German, Dutch, Australian and New Zealand governments on entrepreneurship policy
  • Founder and organiser of the Norface and 'Express' Entrepreneurship Policy Research seminars (separately co-funded by Norface and the ESRC along with government participants) with joint sponsorship of the UK, Finnish, German governments during their respective European Union presidencies. Seminars attended by some 60 policy makers and academics from some 16 countries



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