Yen Tran


  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

1. International entrepreneurial mobility in the emerging markets: The role of embeddedness on innovation capability development and performance. (Ngoc Nguyen)
2. University Industry - Technology commercialisation of medical device: The role of TTO as innovation intermediary (Gavin Leonard)
3. Digital transformation implementation: Facilitating and hindering factors- the service-based and manufacturing-based comparative study. (Sandeep Kuma)
4. International business activities and innovation performance: The case of SMEs and startups (Nhan Nguyen)
5. Addressing the paradoxical tension of servitization offerings: The value-based pricing approach.(Silvia Sanders)
6. Unpacking the Process of Overseas Knowledge Recontextualisation in Returnee Entrepreneurship - A Learning Perspective: A study of returnee entrepreneurs in Vietnam (Won the runner up for Best Dissertation Award - AIB I UK chapter conference)
7. CAPABILITY DEVELOPMENT, PATH DEPENDENCY AND DYNAMIC CAPABILITIES: An Interdependent Co-evolution: The longitudinal case of the Steel industry (Mark Ogilvie Parker)


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Yen Tran has a strong international academic background. She completed her PhD in Innovation Management and Strategy at Copenhagen Business School (CBS-INO Department of Innovation and Organisational Economics) and Stanford University. She obtained her MSc and MBA education at Ohio State University (Fisher College of Business) and Asian Institute of Technology. She also previously held academic position at Copenhagen Business School (INT) and was a visiting professor at FPT University- Business School- Vietnam (2016-2019). 

Research interests

Yen Tran’s research is within the areas of Innovation Management, International Strategy and International Entrepreneurship (IE-IB). Her current research is focusing on (1) organisational and innovation capability development in response to technological changes and (2) entrepreneurial mobility (entrepreneurial knowledge recontextualisation and capability development) in emerging markets (MNC spin offs/employee mobility, knowledge repatriation, returnee entrepreneurship and digital internationalisation strategy). 


Yen’s research is world-class award winning (AOM) -  Best Paper Award of the Organisational Development and Change Division (ODC) of the Academy of Management, and a nomination for the William H. Newman award at the Academy of Management Conference, USA, Chicago. Her PhD on "Organizing Innovation in Turbulent Markets: Four papers on How Firms Create and Appropriate Innovation Value" was selected as the finalist for the BPS Outstanding Dissertation Award by the Business Policy and Strategy Division, one of the most competitive divisions of the Academy of Management Conference, Montreal, 2010. She is an active member of the Academy of Management (AoM) with BPS, TIM and ODC divisions (USA) and AIB (Academy of International Business)


Her work has been published in world class journals well regarded in Innovation and International Business (IB) (from ABS 3*) such as R&D Management, Management International Review (MIR), Long Range Planning (LRP), Thunderbird International Business Review, International Business Review (IBR), Industry and Innovation, Industry Marketing Management (IMM) and the Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (USA) (representing less than 10% of best accepted papers for presentation).


Research and Education Grant

2017: Yen has secured funding and lead the project: “Erasmus+ 2017 Key Action 107, Student and staff mobility between Programme and Partner Countries”- £128K Erasmus. The project has facilitated the research and study exchange between Heriot Watt University and Danang Economic University (20 staff has been exchanged to deliver research seminars, teaching and different research collaboration has been initiated)

2017: “Laying the right building blocks to achieve the effectiveness and sustainability of university governance”  – Danang Economic University - £30K from British Council.

2008: Fashion in Danish Experience Economy: Challenges for Growth – In “Culture, Competence and Competitiveness” project to promote creative industries in Denmark. 


On-going Research projects

Entrepreneurship mobility and Innovation in high tech sectors in emerging markets


Our research explores the impact of international forces in promoting entrepreneurship in emerging economies through knowledge spillover in entrepreneurship mobility. In particular, we focus on three groups of entrepreneurs (1) Returnee entrepreneurs who come back from working and studying overseas to set up their business. (2) Employee entrepreneurs who previously worked for multinational companies (MNCs) and spun out for their new ventures, and (3) Local high-tech entrepreneurs who engaged actively in internationalisation for innovation capability enhancement.

The research supports emerging countries in entrepreneurship promotion to boost up the economic and social development. It also raises the awareness for multinational companies (MNCs) from the West about the business opportunities, business scenarios, local competition and importantly the likely of “brain drain” of resources rather than conventional strategy of local resource deployment.

Our research is both theoretically driven in international entrepreneurship and innovation literatures and empirically grounded through strong collaboration with the industry. The sub-projects are conducted by a group of researchers and PhD students from Heriot Watt University, University of Birmingham, Auckland Business School, VNUK Danang University in collaboration with WISE-Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), SIHUB (Saigon Innovation Hub), Danang Incubator, Circo Working Space, and VN-UK Research Institute for both quantitative and qualitative data collection. (The project received grant from Heriot Watt University and Loughborough University).

Impact Case

Enhancing competitive positions of startups in Vietnam: a comparative study between returnee entrepreneurs and local entrepreneurs.”  This is a survey-based study on 250 entrepreneurs who are either returnees from abroad or local entrepreneurs to identify their co-competition in building the entrepreneurial and innovation eco-system of the country. The white report is to be disseminated among industry partners (SIHUB)





Roles & Responsibilities


  • Innovation Management (Executive Education)
  • Strategic Innovation Management (PG)
  • International Entrepreneurship (4th year-Honour Year)
  • Strategic Change (PG)
  • Research Methodology (PhD seminars)

PhD supervision

Dr. Tran welcomes PhD students in the areas of technological changes, organisational and innovation capability development, and international entrepreneurship (in emerging markets)

University Collaboration

With her unique network and expertise, Yen has facilitated the University education collaboration between UK- Vietnam via articulation programs and exchange programs, to support the University's Internationalisation. 

Industry Collaboration

Yen actively consults start-ups and MNCs in the area of change management (post-integration, resistance management, cultural integration), knowledge management, venture creation, internationalisation process, and e-internationalisation strategy. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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