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De Gruyter Studies in Knowledge Management and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

e-ISSN 2698-4814

De Gruyter Studies in Knowledge Management and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems is a new book series which aims to make a significant contribution to the understanding and development of knowledge management and entrepreneurial ecoystems. As this field has expanded dramatically in recent years, the series will provide an important forum for the publication of high quality works of scholarship and produce focused volumes that: explore in-depth promising new research directions; consolidate research streams; and address significant and current theoretical and practical problems in this research field.

The series will bridge theory and practice combining multiple streams, perspectives and both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge management and entrepreneurial and regional ecosystems in advanced and emerging economies. By doing so, this series will provide an invaluable forum for the publication of high quality scholarly work on knowledge management, entrepreneurial ecosystems and regional studies which will serve a wide readership including academic researchers, graduate students and policy makers.

Editorial contact

If you are interested in submitting a proposal or have any questions please contact the Series Editor:

Professor João Ferreira

University of Beira Interior (UBI)



De Gruyter Studies in Knowledge Management and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems


Full Chapter Submission Deadline: September 30, 2020

Co-Guest Editors

Cristina I. Fernandes, University of Beira Interior & NECE – Research Unit, Portugal

Marcela Ramirez-Pasillas, Center of Family Enterprise & Ownership (CeFEO), Media, Management and Technology (MMTC) Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, Sweden

João J. Ferreira, University of Beira Interior & NECE – Research Unit, Portugal

Purpose of this Book

The objective of this book is to foster theoretical and empirical research on the role that universities and their entrepreneurial ecosystems play in supporting sustainability. Specifically, the book aims to advance our understanding of how universities create, promote and/or participate in an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports sustainable enterprises and industry transformation as well as university-industry-government-third sector relationships in building sustainability.

In this Call for Chapters, we invite research that systematises literature while simultaneously building and/or testing empirically theories. This also includes analyses of the various spatial helices (triple, quadruple and quintuple) that are central in supporting the role that universities and their entrepreneurial ecosystems play in promoting sustainability.

Aim and Scope

Sustainable development is the most important goal of our time. The climate crisis, chemical pollution, misuse of land, health issues and migration are among the greatest threats to global prosperity and the conservation of the earth’s systems. These threats affect the basic preconditions for maintaining stable ecosystems, peace, social justice, equality and access to water, food, and health. In this context, universities and their entrepreneurial ecosystems that support new sustainable enterprises and social/sustainable innovations are important for creating processes, products, and services.

A growing body of literature on universities and their ecosystems demonstrates that new enterprises encapsulating and diffusing knowledge and also employing spillovers arising from universities, R&D institutions, and other NGOs are important. Hence, literature specifically linking universities and their ecosystems to sustainability remains scarce. (see exceptions: Pankov et al., 2019; Volkmann et al., 2019; Wagner et al., 2019). Entrepreneurial ecosystems have a set of interdependent facets (key actors, resources and structures) that foster entrepreneurship within and between geographic areas. Thus far, research has identified the role of these facets including financiers, clients, infrastructure, support organisations, regulatory frameworks, cultures and individual attitudes (Acs et al., 2017; Brown and Mason, 2017; Spigel 2017; Spigel and Harrison, 2018; Audretsch and Link, 2019; Ghio et al., 2019). However, our understanding of the role that universities and their entrepreneurial ecosystems play in engaging in sustainability is limited. Emerging research identifies the process by which ecosystems become sustainable and how ecosystems’ support programmes lead to sustainable regional development (Volkman et al., 2019), the contextual aspects promoting an entrepreneurial ecosystem’s change towards sustainability (Pankov et al., 2019) and the entrepreneurial processes in sustainable ecosystems (O’Shea et al., 2019). As sustainability is an emerging and increasingly relevant lens for studying entrepreneurial ecosystems and universities, investigating their role and its relevance in supporting sustainable products, services and enterprises will allow us to obtain more insights into how these organisations are generating social change and promoting transformations in enterprises, industries and regions. Such an approach is anchored in the interactions, collaborations, and networks among enterprises, public research institutions and not-for-profit organisations like universities supporting the further emergence of new sustainable enterprises from within entrepreneurial ecosystems. Sustainable enterprises blend social, environmental and financial goals and approaches to solve and cope with the challenges of sustainability (Muñoz and Dimov, 2015).

Therefore, this Call for Book Chapters’ aim is examining in what ways universities and their entrepreneurial ecosystems interact to better grasp the connections between universities and their surrounding environments generating and promoting sustainability. The chapters should contain both concepts, that is, ecosystems and entrepreneurial universities and their interactions and contributions towards the sustainability of organisations and regions. The chapters should also seek to understand the ways in which universities operate as an institutional context which is crucial for entrepreneurial ecosystems and also how these ecosystems drive social/sustainable innovations.

The submitted Book Chapters may concentrate on any of the following aspects while not being exclusively limited to them:

  • Entrepreneurial universities promoting sustainability
  • The role of an entrepreneurial university fostering and/or engaging in social/sustainable change through its entrepreneurial ecosystem

  • University entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and innovations for sustainability
  • Institutional context and entrepreneurial universities in the entrepreneurial ecosystems
  • Regional helix ecosystems supporting sustainability
  • The role of stakeholders, for instance, an academic entrepreneur’s profile who is engaged in sustainability
  • The engagement of stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, for instance, an academic entrepreneur’s sustainable venture creation process in connection with the entrepreneurial ecosystem

Important Dates:

We welcome conceptual and/or empirical chapters of between 5,000 and 8,000 words that apply a range of methodologies and rely on existing theories to advance our understanding of the role that universities play in developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and their engagement in sustainable entrepreneurial activities with varied actors. We also welcome submissions that build theory and bring forth new aspects of the roles that universities play in the formation of entrepreneurial ecosystems supportive of social/sustainable innovations.


  • Full chapter submission: September 30, 2020
  • Feedback to authors: October 30, 2020
  • Final chapter re-submission: November 30, 2020


Please send your proposals or direct any questions to any of the editors: Cristina Fernandes (cristina.isabel.fernandes@ubi.pt), Marcela Ramirez-Pasillas (marcela.ramirez-pasillas@ju.se and/or mramirezpasillas@gmail.com), and João J. Ferreira (jjmf@ubi.pt and/or jjmf66@gmail.com).