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Personal profile

Research areas

Entrepreneurship and innovation, in particular in relation to rural areas.


CURRICULUM VITAE and list of publications
Villy Søgaard
1. Education and employment
2009- Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental and Business Economics.
2006- Associate Professor at the Department of Rural Research and Innovation (IFUL)
2005-2006 Associate Professor at the Dpt. of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, University of Southern Denmark.
2002-2004 Research Professor at CESFO, The Centre for Small-Business Studies, at the University of Southern Denmark.
2000 Member of the Board of Directors of The Research Unit of Maritime Medicine
1999 Chairman of the Research Committee and Research Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Business Economics.
Senior lecturer of business economics at the Southern Danish University.
1993- Affiliated to the Regional Science Unit at the South Jutland University Centre.
1991 Senior lecturer at the South Jutland University Centre.
1991 Consultant for COWI-Consult on the rehabilitation of the Hungarian dairy sector.
1990 Ph D in organization from the Copenhagen Business School.
1984-93 Employed at the Cooperative Research Unit at the South Jutland University Centre.
1984 Diploma in education from Riisskov Amtsgymnasium.
1984 Graduated from the University of Århus with human geography as major subject and musicology as minor subject.

2. Research background
My research background falls under the following headings
• cooperative and institutional economics
• innovation theory and innovation studies
• environmental regulation
• agricultural economics
• economic geography
• entrepreneurship

During my years at the Cooperative Research Unit (1984-93), I developed an interest in institutional and organizational economics (transaction cost theory, principal-agent theory, evolutionary economics). These approaches have been useful in studying e.g. the economic justification for, and implications of, cooperative ownership. My PhD dissertation on cooperation and competition among cooperative dairies led me to take an interest in processes of structural change, focusing, among other things, on the interorganizational aspects of structural processes.
From 1988-1994 I was involved in studies of innovation within the food industry (partly under the MAPP programme on Market-Based Product- and Process Innovation within the Food Sector). The main theme of this research was to analyse from a micro-economic perspective the impact of cooperative ownership on innovation incentives and dis¬incen¬tives explaining agricultural cooperatives’ choice of product strategies. I guest lectured on these topics at The University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1995 and Monash University in Melbourne in 1996.
In a couple of studies with my colleagues we have analysed the impact of farmers’ (and farm advisors’) environmental attitudes and the impact of the agricultural extension system on environmental behaviour. This research may be seen as an empirical contribution to the evaluation of various components of the environmental regulation system (embracing sta-tutory regulation, financial incentives, normative regulation and self-regulation).
At theoretical level, this research has spawned new insights concerning the nature of the relationship between attitudes and behaviour. In 1995 and 1996 I have been a referee on conference papers and articles for the European Association of Agricultural Economics and The European Review of Agricultural Economics.
In 1995, I became involved in research related to a series of rural development projects in North-Western Jutland. So far, the results of this research have been published only in Danish.
The aim of the research element was to identify strategic issues for local action and assist local communities in the launching of such initiatives. The research part of this process was completed by the end of 1997.
With the formation of the University of Southern Denmark I joined IME, the Department of Environmental and Business Economics. I became involved in an EU (TSER) project on Policy Influences on Technology for Agriculture, which sought to develop an integrated analysis of policies and market-related factors relevant to technological innovation in the agrochemical, biotechnology and seeds sectors, to explore their interactions, and to develop hypotheses about their impact on strategic decision making in industry and public-sector research establishments.
In 2000 I was responsible for developing the research profile of the business economics section of the Department of Business and Environmental Economics.
In the autumn of 2002 I left IME and became professor of new forms of organization at the Dpt. of Organization and Management in Kolding. Due to health problems I gave up my professorship. During 2005 I was attached to the Dpt. of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management as a senior lecturer. I am the Danish member of the Scientific Committee of ESU, the European PhD summer school on entrepreneurship research.
In 2006 I became Associate Professor at the Dpt. of Rural Research and Innovation (IFUL). This has given me the opportunity to take a renewed interest in economic geography and

2.1 Current research interests
In recent years I have taken a renewed interest in economic geography. Many studies of rural development have focused on individual local communities and their special merits or demerits (e.g. in terms of the presence or absence of ‘dedicated souls’). Others have addressed the relationship between individual sectors such as agriculture or tourism on rural areas. There is a need, however, to see rural development in the light of the spatial reorganization of society at macro level. This need motivates the research application for the Research Council (FSE).

3. Teaching
I have a diploma in education from Riisskov Amtsgymnasium (1984) and have given seminars and courses on the new institutional economics, innovation theory, cooperative organisation, methodology, micro-economics, entrepreneurship, and business strategy. I am currently teaching a course on Innovation Management.

4. Research Management Experience
I have extensive experience as a PhD supervisor and more general research management experience from my role as research coordinator at IME and my professorship in Kolding. Since 2012 I have been PhD coordinator at IME. Over the years I have participated in a number of assessment committees.