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Dr Ufuk Alpsahin Cullen

Senior Lecturer in Business & Enterprise, Research Fellow, SME Prod. & Innov. Cent

Business School



Ufuk obtained a BEng (Hons) in industrial engineering in 1993 and held various engineering and senior management positions at global companies, such as Bosch and Nike. After a successful career in engineering and quality management, she started working as a freelance Management Consultant in 1998 and helped dozens of businesses to have successful ISO 9000, HACCP and ISO 14000 audits and to obtain the ISO certificate. Ufuk established business support units within universities to support university and business partnerships which effort resulted in shifting her career to the academic field in 2001.

In 2010, she obtained €10.000 and £3.000 PhD Research Grants from The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and from The University of Liverpool Management School respectively. Her PhD research aimed to analyse successful business strategies designed and employed by female entrepreneurs and to understand the impact of individual, organisational and institutional factors on the design of those business strategies.

She worked at Plymouth University GSM London as a Senior Lecturer and Academic Programme Lead. During her career at GSM London, she led various projects in developing student-tutor research partnership, enhancing and promoting student entrepreneurship, enhancing student learning and skills development and collaborative assessment design and experiential learning through industry partnership. She contributed to course development, research supervision, undergraduate teaching, module development, module leading, marking and personal tutoring.

She joined University of Exeter as a Lecturer and Flexible Combined Honours Subject Coordinator in 2017. During her career at Exeter, she participated various local and international projects around entrepreneurship, innovation and circular economy. She undertook the Co-investigator and Academic Partner role at TACIT Knowledge Alliance Project. The project brought together academic partners from the University of Southern Denmark, RWTH–University of Aachen, HHL Graduate School of Management (Leipzig) with corporate partners at BMW, Nokia Systems, Lego, Lufthansa Systems, Aachen Munchener and Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust. She bridged the University with local businesses through a range of joint events and schemes such as idea pitching events, a Student Consultants Scheme or a Voluntary Business Coaching Scheme in partnership with Cornwall Chamber of Commerce to help struggling local micro and small businesses. She developed Student Consultants Scheme in partnership with PWC. She obtained a Senior Fellowship of HEA in 2019.

She worked as a Senior Lecturer at Falmouth University School of Entrepreneurship (SoE). She created modules, designed assessments and teaching content for a range of modules for online and offline teaching. She facilitated the use of digital teaching technologies and online resources for colleagues as the Digital Champion of School of Entrepreneurship. She was a business coach at the Launchpad Programme. She also contributed to the processes of designing and developing University’s strategic foundation, mission and priorities for research as a member of the Research Degrees Committee. She was granted six “You’re Brilliant” awards in just one semester as a recognition by students to identify staff members who are brilliant and have had a positive impact on their student experience.

Her research fields broadly lie within female entrepreneurship, circular entrepreneurship, informal entrepreneurship, business model innovation and informal economy. On the side, her research on student employability is going on too.

Ufuk acknowledges the importance of collaborative value creation, community engagement and connecting local to global. Lactalis, Wasted Apple, Oxford Innovation, SimSage, Cornwall Care, Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs CIC, Murrell Associates, Lloyds Bank, St Petrocs, the Wave Project, DadPad are some of her industry partners. They are contributing to designing innovative and authentic assessment methods; and to creating a real-life hands-on learning experience for her students. A collaboration with a local cidermaker in March 2019 connected Ufuk to the world of Small And Independent Cidermakers (SICM). Since then, she has been collecting qualitative and quantitative data from traditional small cidermakers to examine and promote circular entrepreneurship, circular business model and business model innovation.

Ufuk organised the very first Digital Transformation And Circular Entrepreneurship International Symposium in March 2020 in collaboration with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, University of Exeter, British Academy of Management (BAM) Entrepreneurship SIG, Launchpad Outreach, Future Focus and Cornwall Chamber of Commerce. The Conference aimed to bring together leading academics, PhD students, researchers, practitioners and local businesses to exchange and share their experiences, knowledge and research results on various aspects of digital and circular economy. Ufuk is an editorial board member of BAM Entrepreneurship SIG and of International Journal of Business Research and Management (IJBRM). She is currently editing a book for EMERALD entitled New Horizons and Global Perspective in Female Entrepreneurship Research. The book aims to look into female entrepreneurship from the perspective and in the context of developing countries. 

Research Interests


Female Entrepreneurship

Informal Entrepreneurship

Circular Entrepreneurship

Business Model Innovation

Circular Economy

Student Learning


Assessment Design


Quality management systems (ISO 9001)

Environmental management systems (ISO 14001) 



Social Entrepreneurship

Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Business Startup

Creativity and Innovation

Management Consulting

Strategic Management

Small Business Management

Project Management

Human Resources Management


Leadership and Teams

Research Methodologies

Environmental Management and Sustainability


Design Thinking