Robert Bowen is a Lecturer in International Entrepreneurship at the School of Management at Swansea University, and has previously held academic positions at Aberystwyth University, where he developed the Welsh language programme of Business studies, and the University of Nantes, France. He also currently holds a position of Visiting Lecturer at Audencia Business School in Nantes, France. Whilst at Aberystwyth University, he undertook a PhD examining critical determinants to the internationalisation of food and drink SMEs, comparing Wales and Brittany.
Robert’s research interests include SME internationalisation, rural entrepreneurship and place marketing. He has presented his research at the National Assembly of Wales, the House of Lords, and the European Commission.
Robert’s words of wisdom
Conduct research into matters that you are passionate about, and take passion in your research. Research requires a big commitment, therefore it is important that a researcher retains focus throughout the study. This is more likely when the researcher has a passion for the subject. My initial interest in conducting research stemmed from a desire to bring about positive change for small businesses. In my career to date, I have seen first-hand that research has the ability to achieve this, whether through small changes in actions, or engagement with policy makers. I believe that it is our passion for the research that drives us forward to pursue our goals.
I have also experienced the value in working with the right people. I believe that it is important to work with people we know and trust, whether a research student, early career academic, or an experienced professor, as this creates a more positive working environment. As an early career researcher, I have never been afraid to engage with senior or more experienced researchers, as this brings opportunities to learn from their experience and grow as a researcher. There is considerable value in having a strong working relationship like this, leading to mutual benefits.
Consequently, it is important to emphasise the significance of networking, providing oneself with the opportunity to engage with the right people. I have been fortunate to meet many interesting people at various events and conferences, and I believe that membership of professional associations, such as Regional Studies Association, provides researchers with an abundance of opportunities to engage with relevant stakeholders on a local and international scale. Engaging in a community, such as RSA, is vital in supporting members to develop their network, as well as providing opportunities to disseminate research ideas, creating a conversation for the development of future research. In October 2019, I was fortunate to be one of 30 early career researchers to participate in the EU Week of Regions and the 7th Master Class on Cohesion Policy at the European Commission in Brussels. This was an excellent event which provided me the opportunity to engage not only with other early career researchers, but also with experienced academics, and policy makers from the European Commission.