New professorship strengthens micro-entrepreneurship research and education at the University of Oulu

The University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute and Oulu Business School have established a professorship in entrepreneurship, especially micro-entrepreneurship. The professorship is the first in Finland in the field of micro-entrepreneurship. Robert van der Have, PhD, has been appointed to the position. He comes from Aalto University. He starts in the new position 1st June 2024.
Robert van der Have

The tenure-track professorship in micro-entrepreneurship (assistant professor), launched with endowment funds, is an important opening in entrepreneurship research and education. Up to 96.5% of Finnish enterprises are micro-enterprises employing fewer than 10 people, which account for a quarter of all jobs in Finnish enterprises. Micro-entrepreneurship research and the skills it provides will increase the competitiveness of micro-enterprises.

"The professorship reinforces the national mission of micro-entrepreneurship research and education assigned to the University of Oulu by the Ministry of Education and Culture, links the University of Oulu more closely to the international research network in the field and creates new opportunities to be involved in developing the conditions for entrepreneurship regionally, nationally and also throughout the European Economic Area," says Professor Matti Muhos, Director of the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute.

Strong track record to strengthen the micro-entrepreneurship research team

20 candidates applied for the post of Professor of Micro-entrepreneurship, 8 of them from abroad. Robert van der Have has a strong track record of research, teaching and social impact, both domestically and internationally.
"We shortlisted five candidates for peer review and interviewed two. We were pleased to see that the standard of applicants was very high. Robert Van der Have stood out for his international high-quality publications and solid project experience," says Janne Järvinen, Dean of Oulu Business School.

"His key research topics are an excellent fit to strengthen the entrepreneurship research of the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute and Oulu Business School. It is gratifying that van der Have has strong experience in attracting competitive research funding and in implementing national and international research projects," Muhos continues.

Robert van der Have has worked at Aalto University from 2014-2016 as a PhD researcher and partly at the same time as a researcher and senior researcher at VTT from 2006 to 2021. He has been active as a postdoctoral researcher in the Strategy and Venturing Research Group of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Aalto University from September 2021, until joining the University of Oulu 1st June 2024.

Societal impact through research and networks

Through research, academic excellence and increased research funding, the University of Oulu is strengthening a growing research team with a significant societal demand.

“In my previous career at VTT and also during my doctoral training at Aalto University I have built up in-depth expertise in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation, not only from a strategic and business management perspective but also from an economic/industrial policy perspective. I have also worked extensively with research data on Finnish enterprises, which comes in handy for my new position. Lastly, having worked in quite a few international collaborative projects and having visited the USA as a doctoral scholar, I not only bring a solid network with me for the future, but bring along several ongoing collaborative projects. I hope to make a positive contribution with these”, Robert van der Have says.

For Van der Have, creating social impact through academic research is particularly important.

“My ‘dream position’ to follow up my post-doctoral phase was one in which my research and teaching could help promote a sustainably developing society by creating evidence-based knowledge and developing the required human capital. This position at the Kerttu Saalasti Institute and Oulu Business School embodied exactly those ambitions and values. Also, their multidisciplinary and international research mindset were things that I really connected with” van der Have continues.

Part of an internationalising community

Originally from the Netherlands, Van der Have has been living in Finland since 2005. Van der Have is looking forward to starting his multi-location role. He plans to work in Espoo, Oulu, Nivala and around the world.
“The faculty and staff I have interacted with leading up to my start have left me with an extremely positive feeling and a sense of excitement to begin, while simultaneously feeling incredibly welcomed and supported also. It was also very inspiring to learn about the institute’s own development path, so I expect to really enjoy my new work environment!” van der Have praises.

More than €650 000 in donations were raised to establish a professorship in micro-entrepreneurship. Read more about the donations and the professorship here.

Last updated: 21.5.2024