Professor Chris Birch MA, MBA, FHEA

Professor of Enterprise & Innovation

Professor Chris Birch has worked at the University of Greenwich since 2010. Previous to that, he worked at executive level in two universities, including Pro and Deputy Vice-Chancellor roles. On arrival at UoG, he established the Centre for Innovation, Imagination and Inspiration (I3). Since then, the Centre has thrived winning £m’s in grants through international projects such as FLASH, New Deal Innovation, Benefits, Siree, Sunse, ESSI, Hillary, Go-Trade and Share. All were outward looking, seeking to improve productivity, sustainability and profitability in small and medium sized enterprises. All have had internal benefits too, shaping curriculum development, pedagogic processes and mindsets of staff and generations of students.

The success of the I3 Centre led to the repurposing of a prominent piece of real Estate – The Cooper Building – within which the new Generator is now located that supports developing entrepreneurship amongst students and local communities. Covid has been a double-edged sword – The development of the physical centre has been slowed, but engagement using digital technologies accelerated, and we expect to see a hybrid model emerge that will enable more and better engagement with multifarious partners. One thing universities need to do better is re-skill and upskill an ageing population, who will not retire in the now established sense. That is also a massive market opportunity. It can only happen if we create new products and services which are pedagogically innovative, market oriented and making use of technology and flexible digital delivery. Covid-19 has shown that we can do this.

Universities will always be at the forefront of change in creating, disseminating and applying useful knowledge. Henry Newman, during the first Industrial Revolution, asked what ‘the idea’ of a university’ was? We must continually ask that same question. The biggest challenge we now face is the speed of change, and the inability of embedded structures, systems and processes to keep up. We must be agile, adapt, and adopt if we are to both thrive and survive. That infers that we cannot reside in comfort zones nor do as we’ve always done. Part of doing the right things will involve looking decades ahead and second guessing the political landscape of the future. That is fraught with challenges, but also for the far-sighted, huge opportunities.

Research / Scholarly interests

  • Curriculum design
  • Pedagogy
  • Workforce development
  • Technology enhanced education
  • Marketing and contemporary social history.

Recent publications

Refereed Papers:

  1. The International Student: A consumer oriented approach to recruitment (1996) International Education Symposium, Southampton University (Centre for Research in Education Marketing)

  2. The perception of potential international students to UK Universities (1996), Marketing Education Group Conference, Strathclyde
  3. 'Lost on the way to market'. Factors influencing potential students decision making process in their choice of university (1997). Joint paper with D Gilliland, Academy of Marketing Conference, Manchester
  4. The potential use of the internet to marketing researchers in the distribution and completion of questionnaires (1997). Academy of Marketing Conference, Manchester

  5. Do UK primary schools (4-11) make use of marketing principles and techniques now that they operate in a competitive environment? An initial study based on primary schools in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire (1997).  Academy of Marketing Conference, Manchester
  6. Developing a marketing culture in a non-profit making organisation (the Severn Valley Railway) to enhance overall effectiveness. (1997). Joint paper with J Leach, International Symposium, 'Effective Organisations', Bournemouth University
  7. The extent to which Colleges of Further Education are able to use the strategic plans (submitted to the FEFC) to achieve medium and long term organisational objectives. A case study approach: (1997). Joint paper with J Allen, International Symposium, 'Effective Organisations', Bournemouth University
  8. Developing a marketing philosophy  within the context of UK primary schools (4-11) to enable them to be more effective in an increasingly competitive marketplace (1997).  International Symposium, 'Effective Organisations', Bournemouth University
  9. New Centre, New Learning Culture, New Millennium (1998). International Conference ‘Bringing Information Technology to Education’, University of Maastricht
  10. New Course Structures, New Opportunities (1998). 6th EDINEB Conference (Educational Innovation in Economics and Business)’, Ohio
  11. New Centre, New Opportunities (1998). Adults Learning Journal: NIACE
  12. Fibre Optic Motorways and Software Cars in Staffordshire, UK - A short case study (1999). International Conference on Teaching and Learning, USA
  13. Using Fibre Optic Motorways and Software Cars to enhance the student learning experience in an undergraduate Marketing Module at Staffordshire University (1999). Joint paper with Dr M. Clements,  International Conference ‘Educational Innovation in Economics and Business’, Bergen
  1. Quo Vadis: Paradigm Shift or Drift? Holistically managing multi-dimensional paradigm movements in UK Higher Education (2000). The Learning Paradigm Conference, San Diego, March 2000. Published in ‘The Catalyst’ 2001
  2. Embracing ILT within a new learning paradigm in UK FE Colleges (2000). International Conference on Teaching and Learning, Florida, April 2000. I was presented with an Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at this conference, and the paper was one of ten (out of 800 submitted) published in a ‘select’ edition of papers.

  3. Keeping knowledge workers up-to-date: Creating  just-in-time, virtual, micro-learning opportunities (2000). 7th EDINEB Conference, California

  4. Using electronic, micro-learning materials for updating marketing skills in the emerging knowledge society. (2000) Joint paper with Dr M Clements, Academy of Marketing Conference, Derby

  5. Developing Electronic Micro-Learning Materials For The Emerging E-Learning Business Community. (2000). With Dr M Clements.International Conference ‘Towards the e-learning community: Challenges for Business and Education, Bolton

  6. An initial evaluation of the UK national, e-learning project, ‘learndirect’. (2001). 8th EDINEB Conference, Nice

  7. Learndirect: The UK national online learning initiative (2001). International Conference on Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville, USA

  8. SMILE – A Granular Approach to Off-Campus Learning & Teaching Delivery (2001). With Dr M Clements.International IT Conference, Bringing Information Technology to Education, Eindhoven

  9. 'Grains of Learning': an innovative approach that encourages, and enables, small businesses to become learning organisations (2002). International Conference on Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville, USA
  10. Establishing a virtual campus for distributed learners (2002):With Dr M Clements. International Conference on Distributed Learning, Lugano

  11. A Report on the delivering off-campus granular e-learning using SMILE (2002):With Dr M Clements.BEST conference, Herriot Watt University
  12. Nurturing tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. (2002). 9th EDINEB Conference, Mexico
  13. Establishing an Enterprise Culture with on-campus Science and Technology students using distributed learning support  (2003) 5th International Conference (ATINER) The Athens Institute for Education & Research, Athens

  14. On-campus business villages at Staffordshire University:  Making graduate start-up enterprise an aspiration and a reality (2003) International Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation Conference, Durham University
  15. Engaging small businesses in learning (2003) International Conference on Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville, USA

  16. Creating a culture that encourages graduates to start up their own businesses (2003). 10th EDINEB Conference, Salzburg
  17. A report on the delivering of off-campus granular e-learning opportunities using Project SMILE: (2003) The International Journal of Management Education Vol 3 No 2.
  1. Establishing an enterprise culture to retain graduates in an area experiencing relative economic decline (2004):With Dr M Clements.BEST conference, Edinburgh University

  2. Can do, want to do and am going to do! Changing an anti-entrepreneurial culture to enable sustainable economic regeneration. (2004). International Conference on Teaching and Learning, St Augustine, USA

  3. Repositioning learning from work based obligation to leisure based fun (2004)International Conference on Problem-Based Learning, Mexico

  4. Bi-directional Knowledge Transfer: Interfacing SMEs with Universities (2004) 11th EDINEB Conference, Maastricht

  5. Knowledge Transfer in a Global Competitive Environment: The Challenge for Smaller Firms to Consider E-Learning (2004): The Cyprus International Journal of Management, Vol 9, No 1.

  6. What do we want from our business schools? (2005) 12th EDINEB Conference, Antwerp

  7. Nurturing graduate enterprise through self-employed work placements: 13th Edineb conference,Lisbon, June 2006
  8. Enterprise models for creating a sustainable research base: Keynote: Modern Universities Research Group Annual Conference, Edinburgh March 2006

  9. Delivering an Undergraduate Enterprise Agenda using an e-pedagogy originally developed for off-campus, non-traditional learners (2006): Ponte Verde,USA

  10. Creating graduate entrepreneurship through self-employed work placements – Project SPEED: Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference, Cardiff, Oct 2006
  11. Encouraging a journey into self-employment – a re-interpretation of the meaning of in-course work placement (2007): 14th EDINEB conference, Vienna
  12. Using YouTube to distribute enterprise learning and activity to a global community (2008): International Conference on Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville, USA

  13. Using technology enhanced learning processes to deliver learning in enterprise, innovation and communication to 15000 learners (2008): 15th Edineb conference, Malaga

  14. Creating an innovative market-led, work-based learning paradigm that will enhance commercial competitiveness and support the achievement of social justice. International Conference of Learning and Teaching, Jacksonville, March 2009

  15. Re-thinking the mission of a modern university: shifting a learning paradigm into the workplace. A case approach based on Thames Valley University, London. EDINEB, Johns Hopkins University, June 2009
  16. Can a university become market-led and marketing-oriented? What are the implications of the transition? (2010)Vistas Journal

  17. Graduate Internships - bridging the academic and vocational divide(2010).17th EDINEB Conference, London, June 2010
  18. Birch CJ. (2010). ‘Re-thinking the Marketing Mix for Universities: New Challenges, New Opportunities and New Threats.’ Vistas, Education, Economy, Communities,  Vol 1, pp8-25
  19. Birch CJ. (2011). ‘A new marketing paradigm for work-based and work-related learning’ Proceedings of the Edineb Conference, Lyon
  20. Birch CJ. (2012). ‘The road ahead.’ Compass: The Journal of Learning and Teaching at the University of Greenwich, Issue 4, pp 41-49
  21. Birch CJ and Clements B (2012). ‘Working for a degree; a new entrepreneurial structure for 21st century Business Schools.’ Proceedings of the Entrepreneurial Universities Conference, Munster
  22. Birch CJ. (2012). ‘Quo Vadis Universitas?’ Proceedings of the Edineb Conference, Haarlem  (prize winning paper)
  23. Birch CJ. (2012). ‘@work, 4work, 4life – lifelong learning for lifetime working’ Proceedings of the International Conference of Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville
  24. Birch CJ. (2013). ‘Rhetoric to reality – using innovation vouchers to drive value-adding business engagement’, Proceedings of the Edineb Conference, London
  25. Birch CJ. (2013). ‘Creating effective knowledge exchange through mini-innovation vouchers’, Proceedings of the Institute of Knowledge Transfer Conference, Derry
  26. Birch CJ. (2013) ‘Models for bi-lateral knowledge exchange – Innovation vouchers’, Proceedings of the International Conference of Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville
  27. Birch CJ, Meredith R, Allen J, Robson R (2013) ‘Universities in the global marketplace: a market-focussed approach for interaction with industry.’ Proceedings of the International Conference on University – Industry Interaction conference, Amsterdam
  28. Birch CJ, Lichy J (2014) ‘Higher Education: creating a new business-oriented paradigm’ Proceedings of the Conference of New Business Models in International Higher Education’, Lyon
  29. Birch CJ and Piterou A (2014) ‘The Role of HEI’s in Supporting Innovation in SMEs’ Proceedings of the Conference of New Business Models in International Higher Education’, Lyon
  30. Birch CJ (2014) ‘Supporting Innovation in SMEs – The NDI Toolkit’ Proceedings of the Edineb Conference, Limerick, Ireland
  31. Birch C J and Lichy J (2014) ‘Winds of Change – a new Business Oriented Paradigm in HE’ - Proceedings of the Edineb Conference, Limerick, Ireland
  32. Birch CJ and Piterou A (2014) ‘The Role of HEIs in Supporting SMEs: University Based Incubators and Student Internships as Knowledge Transfer Tools’ Proceedings of the Institute of Knowledge Transfer Conference, London
  33. Birch CJ (2014) – ‘Lifelong Learning for a Lifetime of Working’: Proceedings of the International Conference of Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville
  34. Birch CJ and Lichy J (2015) ‘Advanced Business Models in International Higher Education’ – Joint editors Cambridge Scholars Publishing (ISBN (10): 1-4438-7211-3
  35. Birch CJ and Lichy J (2015) ‘Do Universities Need to Re-think Their Business Models in a Rapidly Changing World?’ Advances in Business Education and Training
  36. Birch CJ (2015) ‘Community, Collaboration and Curriculum’ Proceedings of the International Conference of Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville
  37. Birch CJ, Lichy J, Mulholland G, Kachour M (2015) ‘Investigating the Emergence of a Generation of Entrepreneurs and Innovators: An Enquiry into Potential Graduate Entrepreneurship’ ISMO Conference, Nice
  38. Birch CJ, Lichy J, Mulholland G, Kachour M (2016) ‘An Enquiry into Potential Graduate Entrepreneurship: Is Higher Education turning off the Pipeline of Graduate Entrepreneurs?’ Proceedings of the Edineb Conference, Nice, France
  39. Birch CJ (2016) ‘Building Bridges for Future Graduate Entrepreneurs’ Proceedings of the International Conference of Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville
  40. Birch CJ (2019) Supporting the development of potential female social entrepreneurs: Project Hillary, Proceedings of the USASBE Entrepreneurship Conference, St Petersberg, FL
  41. Birch CJ, Sohail M, (2019) Boosting social enterprise and social entrepreneurship – Evaluating Project Hillary. EU regional conference, Lille
  42. Birch CJ (2019) The Challenges of Social Entrepreneurship in Isolated Regions. Proceedings of The Impact of Culture on Entrepreneurial Dynamics – International Perspectives – Avignon
  43. Birch C J (2020) Informing the development of a toolkit for social entrepreneurs operating in isolatedregions. Proceedings of The Impact of Culture on Entrepreneurial Dynamics – International Perspectives – Avignon
  44. Birch CJ (2020) Supporting Networks for Social Entrepreneurship (Project SuNSE), Proceedings of USASBE Entrepreneurship conference, New Orleans

Academic Theses:

  1. The Leisure Pursuits of Staffordshire Coalminers, 1840 - 1914. MA thesis (CNAA 1983)

  2. The Provision of Training for Independent Retailers in the East Birmingham Area. MBA dissertation (Aston 1987)

    Other (selected):

  3. 'Developing a marketing approach in a strong  product (service) oriented environment' (1996). Hacker Young Accountants annual group conference
  4. An assessment of the market situation and potential for the proposed Lichfield University College Project (1996): Market research report to underpin £3m bid from European Union
  5. Books, Bananas and Blackberries – Keynote address at TVU Teaching and Learning Conference, June 2009

  6. The Future of HE in the 21st Century: – Keynote address on the role of workforce skills development – Westminster June 2010

  7. From Cottage Industry to Curriculum and Classroom: Keynote address to the Institute of Knowledge Transfer Conference, London, 2014

  8. Partnership and Collaborations in the Development of New HE Models – Keynote address, ISMO Conference, London 2014

  9. New Business Models – Powered by Technology, Driven by Learning and Supported by Collaboration: Keynote Speech, International Teaching and Learning Conference, USA 2014

  10. Can Do and Want to do Revisited – Inaugural Professorial lecture at Edge Hill University (2015)

  11. From Hero to Zero (and back) - Rebooting Coventry – TED talk to launch the Coventry City of Culture 2021