Welcoming PhD student Hannah Tornow

Hello – I am Hannah Tornow and in January 2021, I started my PhD at the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice (CDPRP) at Oxford Brookes University, in collaboration with Advanced Oxford. I come from a city in the southwestern part of Germany. My previous studies were located in the field of Sociology and Economics with a focus on organisations and statistics. I have always had an interest in understanding the international business environment, so during exchange semesters abroad in Taiwan and Spain, I gained a deeper understanding of international approaches in the business and research world. Doing a PhD was always on my mind; creating knowledge and discovering new insights was my motivating force. As I have always straddled an academic and an industry environment, I was driven to search for a PhD programme that would combine both aspects.

Although the latest lockdown might be a challenging time to start a PhD programme, the incredible support I have received so far from my supervisory team (Dr. Anne Laure Humbert, Prof. Simonetta Manfredi and Dr. Charoula Tzanakou), the research environment at Oxford Brookes University and the input from Advanced Oxford are enabling the continued development of my research and my skills.

In order to drive innovation, it is important to promote engagement in innovation and to make full use of potential and existing talent. Despite previous efforts to attract, retain and equally promote women, their representation in the innovation sector, especially in leadership positions, lags behind that of men’s. To work toward eradicating these inequalities, my research will deal with contextual and individual barriers, using the Oxfordshire region as an exemplar, looking at the innovation ecosystem for women, and identifying potential policies, programmes or measures to overcome them. Researching the barriers that prevent us from using the workforce’s full potential contributes to the local and national industrial strategy and will help Oxfordshire continue to be the innovation engine of the UK and a prosperous region for businesses to settle and grow.

Since I plan to use a mixed-method approach in my research, you might come across me sometimes over the course of the next three years – I look forward to working with you. Throughout my PhD, I will be sharing my research findings and results in this blog. If you are interested in my research, please feel free to contact me via email or to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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