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Magnus Holmén

Professor of Innovation Science with specialisation in
Industrial Organisation at the School of Business, Engineering and Science. Appointed in 2013.

With a view to strengthen the University's innovation research

At the start of the year, when Magnus Holmén starts working as a professor of Innovation Sciences with specialisation in industrial management at Halmstad University, he sits down with a blank, white sheet of paper that is to be to be filled. This position is new to the University: therefore, entailing both opportunities and challenges.

– It means that I get to be involved from the start and create an agenda for the field of innovation research. The aim is to deepen the scientific foundation concerning innovation research at the University and to further develop existing partnerships with companies in the region, says Magnus.

Business models for innovation are crucial

Until the start of this year, Magnus Holmén was an associate professor at the Department for Innovation, Technology Management and Economics at Chalmers University of Technology, at the same time connected to the Center for Business Innovation (CBI). His research area was mainly business model innovation, an area where he continues to research within the context of his new position as Professor at Halmstad University.

– I have always been interested in the processes of change within industry and business model innovation is a very hot research topic at the moment. Today it is not just the product that the companies are making money on, but how they reformulate their business models – the ability to do this determines whether companies will be successful or not.

– As a result of globalisation, companies can and may be forced to take more decisions concerning the design of their business models than they did before, says Magnus Holmén.

Wants to understand companies’ ecosystem

Another area of ​​interest is how to better understand and analyse the broader economic and institutional context for innovations.

– Generally, it is about how companies organise themselves on the market. The research is not just about understanding businesses and their business models, you must also understand the system in which they operate – industrial structure, population, and not least their customer and supplier relationships, says Magnus. How a company shapes – and is shaped by – their ecosystems is crucial to whether they will be successful and survive or if they will not. 

Wants to combine economics and technology

– I have always been interested in both worlds, both because I think that within the academic community there is a need for movement, but also because I've wanted to bring together the worlds of economics and technology.

After completing his Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, he received a PhD position at Chalmers University of Technology. His main area of ​​research was the development of regional systems within certain areas of technology – how different operators experiment in emerging areas of knowledge both at regional and international levels.

Upon completing his PhD, Magnus Holmén worked on various projects and at one time considered starting his own business instead of an academic career. At the same time as planning to start a business, he applied, a little halfheartedly, for a position as a research fellow at the Australian National University in the Australian capital, Canberra – and got it.

– The position was for four years and was basically about doing an analysis of Australia's innovation system. Australia is part of the Western World, but is situated closer to Asia, which creates very different prerequisites if compared with countries such as Sweden as they maintain close relations with countries such as Indonesia and China. Although the domestic manufacturing sector is very small, the service sector is strong.

What struck Magnus Holmén most during his time in Australia were the differences in the education systems.

– In Australia, universities are more "business-like", they compete much more with each other than European universities do in order to attract students. What I saw and experienced led me to, among other things, together with colleagues, write a book: "Learning to Compete in European Universities".

Aim: making universities prominent in innovations

– I hope to be one of the driving forces within the field of innovation and hope that we will soon be starting a couple of research projects here. Eventually, the aim is also to work with PhD students at Halmstad University.


Magnus Holmén was born in 1967 in Masthugget, Gothenburg. In 1993, he completed his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering with specialisation in applied mathematics at Chalmers University of Technology. Parallel to his studies, he studied at the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg.

In 2001, he completed his PhD with the thesis "Emergence of Regional Actor Systems: Generic Technologies and the Search for Useful or Sale Able Applications".

In 2002, Magnus Holmén was employed as a research fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. In 2008, Magnus Holmén was senior lecturer at Chalmers University of Technology, and in autumn 2013 he was appointed Professor of Innovation Science with specialisation in Industrial Organisation at Halmstad University.

Updated 2018-02-23