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Durham University

Research & business

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Professor Ian Stone, BA, MA, PhD

Professorial Fellow of St Chad's College
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43329

Contact Professor Ian Stone (email at


Ian studied economics and economic history at the Universities of Leicester (BA Hons), Simon Fraser, Canada (MA Economics), and Cambridge (PhD History), and then held academic posts at the Universities of Victoria (Wellington, NZ), Newcastle, Sunderland and Northumbria. At the latter, he was Professor of Economics and founder-director of the Northern Economic Research Unit, NERU. He has been at Durham University Business School since 2003, during which time he has been Visiting Professor at Plymouth University (2012) and HEC Montreal (2014). He is Entrepreneurial Fellow at Grey College. He was Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at DUBS from 2012-15.

Between 2000 and 2014, under his leadership, the Policy Research Group (DUBS and now St Chad’s College) undertook some 150 projects, worth around £6m. Regional, national and international policy research has been undertaken for government departments and other organizations/agencies, including the Enterprise Executive of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), UKTI, UK Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Turner Commission on Pensions, UK Commission on Employment & Skills (UKCES), OECD, European Commission (DGEmpl), European Parliament and ONE NorthEast. Projects for the private sector include some for Microsoft PLC on the potential for IT systems to enhance SME performance. With his team, Ian has contributed research underpinning policy development in key areas such as business succession, high performance working, workforce skills development, small firm formation and growth, and small firm finance.

Professor Stone has extensive experience as a consultant. Regionally, he frequently advised ONE North East. ONE funded the £600K North East Economic Model project, which he initiated, and subsequently developed with Andrew Hunt. In 2011 he worked with Durham County on its Business & Enterprise Strategy, and, in 2013, advised the NE LEP on enterprise within its regional economic strategy. He also supervised a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with Business & Enterprise Group Ltd on cultural change in the organisation. At a national scale, after serving on the Experts Panel for the Sector Skills Development Agency, he became Visiting Research Fellow at UKCES (2008-12), advising on major research and policy development programmes, including the Growth & Innovation Fund. He advised the UK Cabinet Office and Economic & Social Research Council on establishing a national centre for social entrepreneurship research and was a member of the UK Treasury Policy Task Group on business succession (2005-06). 

Internationally, Ian was invited to give policy workshops to the Canadian Government (Industry Canada) on encouraging training in small firms. He was the Invited Expert on a 2008 European Commission delegation to Chile, briefing the government on employment policy in Europe. Other international activity includes specialist management training (labour markets, enterprise, skills policy) for European Commission officials in Brussels, and official mentor to the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Södertörn University, Sweden. In 2012 he prepared the background report and keynote presentation for an OECD international workshop on skills and entrepreneurship, and also advised the Danish Business Authority on a similar theme. 

Professor Stone has published over 50 academic articles, books/book chapters and numerous reports officially published by government departments and agencies. He recently led the development of the postgraduate (MSc and Executive MA) programmes and a novel programme in Entrepreneurship open to all Durham undergraduates. His current teaching focuses upon New Venture Creation, alongside which he runs the popular annual Dragons’ Den competition, which is an integrated part of wider DUBS and University enterprise activities, including his StartGrid Accelerator programme and linked Student Enterprise Support Fund. Now working part-time, he was awarded the DUBS Innovative Teaching & Learning award in 2014, and the University’s Excellence in Teaching & Learning Award in 2015.

Mini Biography

Ian has been a Professorial Fellow at DUBS since joining the School in 2003. He has served as Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and of the Policy Research Group. Now semi-retired, he teaches New Venture Creation on the MBA and runs the Dragons’ Den Competition for students, as well as the StartGrid Accelerator programme.

Research Groups

Business School

Research Interests

  • Entrepreneurship and small firm growth
  • Labour markets and skills in SMEs


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Stone, I. & Nelson, A. (2012). Professional Runner, Athletics Coach and Entrepreneur-Client. In Sporting Lives, special issue of ‘Sport in History'. Day, D. Routledge. 103-133.
  • Stone, I. & Nelson, A. (2012). Professional Runner, Athletics Coach and Entrepreneur-Client. In Sporting Lives, special issue of ‘Sport in History'. Day, D. Routledge. 103-133.

Journal Article


  • Allinson G., Braidford P., Houston M. & Stone I. (2015). Understanding Growth in Small Business, Department of Business Innovation and Skills. Research Paper 216 (BIS/15/154), London.
  • Braidford P. & Stone I. (2013). Customer journeys in Business Support Services. Report for Department for Business Innovation & Skills, london.
  • Allison, G., Robson, P. & Stone, I. (2013). Economic Evaluation of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee for SMEs. Report for Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).
  • Allinson, G., Braidford, P. Houston, M. & Stone, I. (2013). Obstacles Facing Micro Business Growth. Report for Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).
  • Stone, I. (2012). Best Practice Approaches to High Performance Working: Lessons from Experience in Selected countries. Report for UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
  • Allinson, G. Braidford, P. Houston, M., Robinson, F. & Stone, I. (2012). Business Support for Social Enterprises: report for UK Office for Civil Society and BIS. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
  • Jamieson, D., Fettiplace, S., York, C., Lambourne, E., Braidford, P. & Stone, I. (2012). Large Businesses and SMEs: Exploring how SMEs interact with large businesses. ORC International/PRG for BIS.
  • Allinson G., Braidford P., Houston M., Robinson F. & Stone I. (2012). Policy support for social enterprise: Findings from a longitudinal study. Report for Department for Business Innovation & Skills and OCS, London.
  • Stone, I., Braidford, P., Bolger, F. & Houston, M. (2012). Promoting High Performance Working. Report for UK Commission for Employment and Skills and Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. London.
  • Stone, I., Braidford, P., Houston, M & Bolger, F. (2012). Promoting High Performance Working. Report for UKCES and BIS.
  • Stone, I. (2012). Skills Development for SMEs and Entrepreneurship. OECD.
  • Stone, I. & Braidford, P. (2011). Hartlepool Economic Assessment: consultation and report. Hartlepool Borough Council.
  • Stone, I. & Braidford, P. (2011). Impact of Financial Crisis on North East Business: A report for North East Access to Finance and partners. Report for NEF/NEA2F.
  • Stone, I. (2011). International approaches to high performance working. UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
  • Braidford, P., Lomax, S., Houston, M. & Stone, I. (2011). Solutions for Business Customer Monitoring Survey. Report for BIS (with IFF).
  • Braidford, P., Houston, M. & Stone, I. (2010). Business Base, Employment and Entrepreneurship Profile in County Durham. Report for Business & Enterprise Working Group, County Durham.
  • Stone, I. (2010). Encouraging small firms to invest in training: learning from overseas. Wath-Upon-Dearne, Yorkshire, UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
  • Braidford, P. & Stone, I. (2010). Solutions for Business Cross-product Monitoring Survey. Report for BIS.
  • Allinson, G., Stone, I., Braidford, P. & Houston, M. (2009). Early stage assessment of the impact of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) on recipient firms. Department for Business Innovation & Skills.
  • Stanfield, C. Sloan, J., Cox, A. & Stone, I. (2009). Review of Employer Collective Measures: Final Report. UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
  • Braidford, P., Allinson, G., Houston. M. & Stone, I. (2009). Review of Women’s Enterprise Support Policies. Report or BIS and English Regional Agencies.
  • Allinson, G., Braidford, P., Houston, M. & Stone, I. (2009). The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme: Early Assessment of Impact. Report for BIS.
  • Stone, I. & Braidford, P. (2008). Engaging small employers in continuing training an international review of policies and initiatives. Sector Skills Development Agency.
  • Stone, I., Allinson, G., Braidford. P. & Robinson. F. (2008). Scoping Report for the Development of a Third Sector Research Centre, for the UK Cabinet Office.
  • Stone, I., Drummond, I., Braidford, P. & Houston, M. (2008). Stimulating New Business Formation amongst individuals with latent high entrepreneurial potential. Report for One North East.
  • Braidford, P., Allinson, G. & Stone, I. (2007). Buying and selling small firms – Does the Market Fail? Report for DTI (SBS), Welsh Assembly, Scottish Assembly and NI Executive.
  • Snaith, B. & Stone, I. (2007). Firm Size, Firm Growth and Use of IT by Small Businesses. Report for Microsoft plc.
  • Snaith, B. & Stone, I. (2006). IT Capability and Business Performance: Does IT matter in medium-sized firms? Report for Microsoft Inc.
  • Braidford, P., Allinson, G., Houston, M. & Stone, I. (2006). Myths associated with Growing a Business. Report for DTI Small Business Service.