Dr Gül Berna Özcan

Personal profile

My scholarship is interdisciplinary and deals with business-politics relations, internationalisation of firms, and the political economy of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and entrepreneurship.  I am especially interested in entrepreneurs’ political engagement in neo-liberal space and their moral overtones.

At Royal Holloway I have taught a variety of courses at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. These include strategic management, modern corporations, European business, international perspectives on entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship history and theory, corporate governance, and research methods, and served as a research director of the Gurukul Chevening Leadership Programme at the London School of Economics between 2005-2013.

My work appeared in leading journals, such as Business and PoliticsJournal of Business ResearchEntrepreneurship and Regional DevelopmentWorld DevelopmentComparative Economic StudiesEnvironment and Planning CProgress in Planning, New Perspectives on Turkey, and Insight Turkey.  I was the lead author of the UNDP study on business solutions to poverty in the CIS and Eastern European countries. With extensive empirical reseach on SMEs and entreprise development in post-Soviet and emerging regions, I published numerous books such as Diverging Paths of Development in Central Asia (Routledge, 2017); Building States and Markets: Enterprise Development in Central Asia (Palgrave, 2010); Small Firms and Local Economic Development: Entrepreneurship in Southern Europe and Turkey (Ashgate, 1995).

Education: PhD in Economic Geography (London School of Economics), MSc (Middle East Technical University) and BSc (Dokuz Eylul) in City and Regional Planning.

Awards: The Kennan Institute Alumni Award (2018-19); The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (2008-09); the Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (2005-07); the Nuffield Foundation Social Science Grant (2004-05); the Robert McNamara Fellowship of the World Bank (1998-99); the Middle East Research Competition of the Ford Foundation (1995-96) 

External Roles: Executive Council Member of the British Association for Turkish Area Studies (BATAS); International Summer School Faculty of Yonsei University; Expert Evaluator for the European Commission; Member of the ESRC Peer Review College; International Advisory Board Member of Anatolian Artisans

Languages:Turkish (Native); Italian (Advanced); Uzbek (Advanced) & Russian (Intermediate)

Previous Positions: Social Science Research Fellow (2009), American Univ. of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Woodrow Wilson Fellow (2008-09), Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, Washington DC, USA; Associate Fellow and Political Risk Analyst (2003-08), Emerging Markets Group, ELSE, London School of Economics, UK; McNamara Fellow of the World Bank (1998-99), the European Institute, London School of Economics, UK; Assistant Professor (1994-1996), Dep. of City & Regional Planning, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey; Research Assistant (1987-88), Dep. of City & Regional Planning, the Univ. of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy; Research Assistant (1985-87), Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey-TUBITAK, Ankara, Turkey; Oguz AldanUrban Planning & Design (1983-85), Ankara, Turkey

Recent Talks and Media Interviews

  • "Piety, Business and Politics: A Quarter-century Transformation in Turkey" BATAS Annual Symposium, SOAS (10 March 2018)
  • "Contested Aid: Business Development Assistance in Central Asia"-Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Institute of East European, Russian and Central Asian Studies, Beijing (9 September 2015) and Yonsei University, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul (12 September 2015)
  • Published interviews with Correio Braziliense (9 June 2015 & 10 August 2014)
  • BBC Radio 4 “Turkey: The New Ottomans” by Alan Little (30 July 2013)
  • BBC Radio 4 "Woman's Hour" (7 June 2013)


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