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Prof. Helena Lenihan


Helena Lenihan is Professor of Economics at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick. She is an applied economist whose research interests include the economics of innovation, innovation and innovation policy, drivers of firm performance and growth, innovation, science and industrial policy evaluation, innovation and human capital, and industrial/enterprise development and policy.

Helena was an invited Visiting Fellow at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, UK (2008). She was also a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge (2008), where she is now a lifetime member. She is a Research Associate at the UK's Enterprise Research Centre. From 2009-2014, she was Assistant Dean, Research at the Kemmy Business School.

Professor Lenihan regularly publishes articles in highly ranked international journals. These include: Research Policy; Small Business Economics; Regional Studies, Environment and Planning C-Government and Policy; Applied Economics; Evaluation and Program Planning and Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. She has also been invited to deliver many keynote addresses both nationally and internationally

Helena is currently Principal Investigator on a four year (2018-2022) project funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under its Science Policy Research programme. This research project evaluates the impact of innovation and science policy instruments on firm performance from national and international perspectives. To deliver on this current project, she leads a team of Postdoctoral Researchers, PhD students and Research Assistants based at the University of Limerick. For over 20 years, she has generated significant research funding from both academic (e.g. EU-FP7, IRCHSS/IRC, RIA) and policy-making (e.g. Enterprise Ireland and SFI) sources.

Professor Lenihan is particularly interested in demonstrating the impact of her research on the economy and society more broadly. As a researcher, the chance to make an impact on society through research is a prospect that Helena is very passionate about. She champions the university of Limerick's Research Impact initiative and chairs, UL's Research Impact Committee (

Helena was awarded one of the first National Excellence in Teaching Awards by the National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL). She has also been twice awarded the UL Excellence in Teaching Award.

Research Interests

Economics of innovation, innovation and innovation policy, drivers of firm performance and growth, innovation, science and industrial policy evaluation, innovation and human capital, and industrial/enterprise development and policy.

Professional Activities


  • 2013 - Awarded 'Best paper in track - Networks and Innovation', ISBE International Conference
  • 2012 - Nominated for 'Best paper in track - Networks and Innovation' ISBE International Conference
  • 2012 - Awarded the status of 'Fellow' of the Regional Studies Association International
  • 2009 - National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2004 - UL Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 1999 - UL Excellence in Teaching Award


  • 2012 Departmental/Committee to design in 2012 the new MSc in Economic Analysis programme,
  • 2011 Course Board-MSc in Economic Analysis ,
  • 2009 University Research Implementation Committee (C-DIRS),
  • 2009 Faculty Research Committee, Evaluates applications for research Masters and PhD Degrees
  • 2009 Faculty Research Implementation Committee,
  • 2009 University Post Graduate Review (PGR) Committee,
  • 2009 Public Policy, Enterprise, Governance and Sustainability (PPEGS),
  • 2009 University EURAXESS , EURAXESS (The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers) working group.
  • 2009 Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing Research Theme,
  • 2009 KBS Top Management Group,
  • 2008 Admissions Appeal Committee,
  • 2008 Course Board, management Development Unit (MDU), course on BA in Public Sector Management,
  • 2007 BBS Flexible Learning Steering Group,
  • 2007 Course Board, Management Development Unity (MDU) course on 'Diploma in Management-Business, Advisory Skills',
  • 2006 University promotions board (JL-L). ,
  • 2006 Academic Council,
  • 2006 Joint UL/Revenue FYP Committee, Responsibility to deliver the FYP presentation to students before they began the research process. These FYP presentations took place at Revenue Training Branch).
  • 2006 Departmental/Committee to review research applications (PhD and Masters research),
  • 2006 MBS Course Board 'International Entrepreneurship Management', I was also responsible for designing a new module in 'Small Business Economics' which was offered for the first time in the academic year 2008-2009
  • 2006 EQUIS (European Quality mark for International Business Schools) PRG Visit Planning Committee,
  • 2004 BBS Implementation Committee, As the Department of Economics representative, I was responsible for the curriculum design of the new BBS Ecoonomics & Finance major option.
  • 2004 BBS Course Board Steering Committee,
  • 2004 BBS Steering Committee,
  • 2004 Quality Review Steering Committee., Key role in terms of preparing for Department quality review and subsequent partication in meetings with the review panel).
  • 2003 Teaching and Learning Awards Committee,
  • 2002 IT Review Group,
  • 2002 BBS Review Committee, In addition to attending regular meetings, I held a focus group with students; designed a large scale survey for UL Alumni; and was member of a sub-group to examine 'softer skills needs'.
  • 2001 PhD Transfer Committee, I have been a member of almost every PhD Transfer Committee in the Department of Economics.
  • 2001 BBS Course Board Steering Committee,
  • 2001 BBS Course Board,
  • 2000 BBS Course Board,
  • 2000 Committee to examine the FYP as a Minor Option,
  • 1997 BBS FYP Committee,
  • 1997 Strategic Planning Committee.,
  • 1997 Graduation Ceremonies Committee,
  • 1996 Inter-college Review Committee , To examine Statistics and related modules on BBS programmes.
    I played a key role in the introduction of a new minor option in 'Corporate Data Analysis'.
  • 1996 BBS Quality Task Force,
  • 1996 BBS Course Board,
  • 1995 University Library Forum Committee,
  • 1994 Interview Panels, Successiv Junior/Lecturer/Lecturer below the bar and teaching Assistant Appointment Panels.
  • 1993 Accounting and Economics and Economics and Finance Major options, My key role was to deal with transcripts for the graduating students and action reports for all students, requiring liaison with many external examiners.
  • 1993 Committee to look after transcripts of graduating classes and handle queries from external examiners, Graduating Class Coordinator for the Accounting/Economics and Economics/Finance option.
  • 1993 Final Year Project Coordinator, Department of Economics


  • 2012 Fellow, Regional Studies Association International (the learned society)
  • 2009 Member, All Island Innovation Programme-Community of Researchers
  • 2009 Elected Committee member, Regional Science Association International, British and Irish section (RSAIBIS)
  • 2005 Director, Blue Box Creative Learning Centre (Limerick based charity)
  • 2004 Invited Member, Forfás Steering Committee
  • 2003 Member, Regional Studies Association International (the learned society)
  • 2002 Member, European Network on Industrial Policy (EUNIP)
  • 2002 Member, Irish Evaluation Network
  • 1992 Member, Irish Economic Association


  • 2001 University of Ulster - PhD
  • 1992 University College Dublin - MA
  • 1991 University College Dublin - BA
  • 0 Lancaster University - SPSS 6.1 for Windows.
  • 0 London School of Economics - Econometrics Certificate
  • 0 London Business School - International Teachers Programme Certificate
  • 0 University of Essex - Advanced Regression Analysis Certificate


  • Visiting Position: I was invited and accepted the invitation to become a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Business Research (CBR) at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, UK from January to June 2008. Visiting Research Fellowships at the CBR are awarded on an invitation only basis. Whilst at the CBR, I was a member of the Enterprise and Innovation research group.
  • Visiting Position: Annually, since 2006, I have been a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham where I have taught on their MSc programmes in Economic Policy and Public Policy for Competitiveness in a Global Economy.
  • Visiting Position: The final month of my sabbatical from UL (June-July 2008) was spent at the 5* research rated Warwick Business School, UK.
  • Visiting Position:
    Concurrently (to my time at University of Cambridge, UK) I was a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, where I am now a life-long Visiting Fellow member.
  • Visiting Position: I was selected and served as a faculty member of the prestigious International Teachers' Programme, London Business School (LBS) for two consecutive years (1997 and 1998).
  • External Examiner-Irish management Institute, Dublin 2006-2008
  • External Examiner-Waterford Institute of Technology, 2006-2009 (Extern to programmes at both the School of Business and the School of Humanities).
  • In June 2009, I acted as an External Adjudicator for the UCD Annual Excellence in Teaching Awards due to my perceived expertise throughout the university sector. I was invited to act in the same capacity in 2010, but was unable to do so due to other commitments.


  • Student Advisor:
    1992-ongoing: on average 10 new students per annum. As a student advisor on the BBS programmes for the past 22 years, I maintain regular contact with my advisees through e-mail and meetings. As well as liaising with my advisees regarding their programme of study.
  • Student Advisor: I make an average of six visits per year to cooperative education students and their employees, providing academic and professional advice.
  • On numerous occasions since 2009; I have acted as Department Head (summer times or other occasions when the Head was on leave).
    I have also acted as Acting Dean, KBS (mostly recently, summer 2011).


Book Chapter


Responding to the crisis: are policies aimed at a strong indigenous industrial base a necessary condition for sustainable economic growth?
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. and Lenihan, H.
Industrial Policy Beyond the Crisis: Regional, National and International Perspectives (Regions and Cities series)


An empirical analysis of the OCA criteria: the case of the Asia Pacific Countries
Kan, D., Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. and Lenihan, H.
Asia and Europe: Contrasts and Connections

Conference Contribution

Conference Publication


Regional Studies Association Annual Conference
Ipinnaiye, O., Doran, J. and Lenihan, H.


FP7 Workshop, Freie Universitat, Berlin
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B and Lenihan, H.


Regional Studies Association Annual International Conference.
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. and Lenihan, H


FP7 Workshop, Freie Universität, Berlin. [Invited workshop]
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. and Lenihan, H


Innovation behaviour of Spanish fashion manufacturing SMEs
Calvo, JL,de Mesa, ALC,Lenihan, H,AndreossoOCallaghan, B,Hart, M


FP7 workshop, Kings College London, UK. [Invited workshop]
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. and Lenihan, H


Irish Economic Association Annual Conference
Kan, D; Andreosso, B. and Lenihan, H.


Irish Economic Association Annual Conference,
Kan, D., Andreosso, B. and Lenihan, H.


KBS Research Centre Conference, University of Limerick
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. Lenihan, H. and Kan, D


10th European Network on Industrial Policy (EUNIP)
Andreosso B., Lenihan H. and Kan D.


Environ 2006
Knaus, M., O'Regan, B., Moles, R., Lenihan, H.


Irish Accounting & Finance Association, 18th Annual Conference,
Stapleton, M., Lenihan, H. and Killian, S.


4th International Conference on Social Responsibility
Stapleton, M., Lenihan, H., Killian, S. and O'Sullivan, B


proceedings of the 45th Congress of the European Regional Science Association,
Hewitt-Dundas, N., Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. and Lenihan, H.

Other Publication


Political Risk and Foreign Direct Investment: How Do They Relate in Various European Countries?
Benácek, V., Lenihan, H., Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B., Michalíková, E. and Kan, D.


The Governance of Networks in the Shannon Region of Ireland (prepared for ESF/SCSS)
Andreosso O'Callaghan, B.; Lenihan, H.
The Governance of Networks as Determinant of Local Economic Development

Peer Reviewed Journal


Drivers of SME performance: a holistic and multivariate approach
Ipinnaiye, O.,Dineen, D.,Lenihan, H.
Small Business Economics DOI: 10.1007/s11187-016-9819-5


The evolving model of capitalism in Ireland: An insight into enterprise development and policy
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B., Lenihan, H. and McDonough, T.
Economic And Industrial Democracy DOI: 10.1177/0143831X14547116


Political Risk, Institutions and Foreign Direct Investment: How Do They Relate in Various European Countries?
Benácek, V., Lenihan, H., Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B., Michalíková, E., and Kan, D.
World Economy DOI: 10.1111/twec.12112


Assessing the Feasibility of Monetary Integration in the Former Soviet Republics
Kan D., Andreosso-O'Callaghan B., and Lenihan H.
International Economic Journal DOI: 10.1080/10168737.2010.487538


Charges in the Industrial Water Sector: Comparison Between Ireland and Spain
Mejias, C.R., Lenihan, H. and O'Regan, B.
Environmental & Resource Economics DOI: 10.1007/s10640-009-9308-2


Networking: a question of firm characteristics? The case of the Shannon region in Ireland
Andreosso-O'Callaghan, B. and Lenihan, H.
Entrepreneurship And Regional Development DOI: 10.1080/08985620802462173