High-profile Cambridge award to USN professor

Jon Mikel Zabala professor II at USN School of Business
(Photo: Private)

Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia, Professor at USN School of Business has been awarded the 2021 Babbage Industrial Innovation Policy Award at Cambridge University, UK.


The award is given to outstanding scholars who have significant contributions to: «Encouraging practice-oriented academic and professional contributions to industrial innovation policy analysis and design.»

Professor Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia says this was such a high profile award that he have to admit he didn’t feel he had a strong chance at winning, but he is truly delighted and very proud. 

«Yes, indeed, we didnt expect to get the award when we submitted our application in August to Cambridge. It is true that our research has a very good fit with the overall purpose and ambition of the award, so we definitely were aligned with the criteria that were stated in the call.»

Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia has a 50% position as Professor in Technology Management at USN school of business, Campus Kongsberg and his other Professor position is at University of Deusto.

«We are incredibly proud that one of our professors, Jon Mikel has won such a prestigious award from Cambridge University alliance, he truly deserves this recognition», says Gillian Warner-Søderholm, Head of Department of Business Strategy and Political Science at the School of Business,

Focus on practical implications

The winning contribution is research on what is required to implement innovation in the public sector policy development. It seems they really valued our contribution to policy developments in industrial innovation, says Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia.

«Our research has a clear theoretical contribution. However, we are all very much concerned with the practical implications of academic research, and as we usually do in our research, we put a lot of emphasis on how our results could help to policy makers in the practical implementation of innovation policies. The day of the award ceremony (22 September 2021) the members of the panel highlighted that they valued this combination of theory-practice in our research, and that this was one of the reasons why they supported our candidacy.»

Babbage Policy Forum profile the reasons behind the award as follows:

«The need for effective policies towards industrial innovation has been thrown into sharp relief by recent international events. Increasingly complex relationships between technology, innovation and industrial competitiveness have been further complicated by the emergence of a global pandemic. Such challenges are likely to require new policies at local, national and regional levels.

Traditionally, economics has provided the main conceptual frameworks for policymakers, but it is increasingly apparent that other disciplines including engineering, technology management and political science provide essential perspectives and insights. Expertise and analysis from these and other disciplines need to be integrated with economic frameworks if robust and implementable policies are to be developed.»

The researchers:

The research was conducted by Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia, together with Stephanie Francis Grimbert (PhD student of the University of Deusto in San Sebastian, Spain, and affiliated member of CIRCLE at Lund University, Sweden) and Ville Valovirta (Senior Scientist at the VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland in Espoo, Finland).

Babbage Industrial Innovation Policy Award

Awareed by Babbage Policy Forum at Cambridge University.