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Dr Rebecca Liu

Senior Lecturer

Rebecca Liu

Charles Carter Building



Tel: +44 1524 594767

PhD supervision

I am looking for PhD Students: with interest in studying product development and innovation management, for example: open innovation, absorptive capability and dynamic capabilities, social media, digital marketing, Design-thinking, SMEs, and internationalization. Students with a multi-disciplinary approach are welcomed.

Professional Role

Senior Lecturer of Marketing and Innovation Management, Department of Marketing, Lancaster University Management School 

External Examiner, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University (2016 - 2022)

Director, Joint Marketing Programmes, Lancaster University Management School (2016 - 2019)

  • BSc Marketing with Design Programme
  • BSc Marketing with Psychology Programm

Co-op Council Member, British Academy Management (BAM) (2014 - 2016)


Current Research

Design Driven Innovation

Innovation is at the heart of economic prosperity.  Design Thinking (DT) is the key to drive innovatin success.  This project investigates the challenges of applying DT and how firms manage these challenges to enhance innovation success through a cooepration of Lancaster University and Hitotsubashi University Academics.  The outcomes offer stratetgic guidelines that help businesses and policy makers capitalise on the advances of DT to achieve enhanced business performance. The cooperation promotes cross-fertilization of business practices and know-how across business and country silos, contributing to the improvement of natinal and global economy.   

Building Market Capability for New Product Development

Through the dual theoretical lenses of absorptive capacity, dynamic capability and market orientation, this project investigates how firms develop market capabilities in new product development.  The extant litearture, which largely stems from a technological perspective, reveals the existence of two independent sets of properties embedded in the notion of broader capability building. One set foregrounds building on knowledge and development of procedures, including elements of ‘path-dependence’ theory, with its associated features of process, position and path.  The other privileges the issues that depart from well-trodden procedures, pointing to destruction, experimentation and change.  This project expores an existence of an simultenous relationship of two sets of properties in developing market capability.

Public Innovation Funding Programmes and SMEs’ Export Performance

This project studies in what way and to what extent different regional, national and European innovation funding programs help SMEs to expand sales in foreign markets.  Prior research suggests that heterogeneous public programs stimulate different types of innovations in terms of the degree of novelty, the targeted user groups or the targeted competitive advantage. This project involves a longitudinal study by using panel data of German SMEs. 

Behavioural Competencies and Entrepreneurial Funding Resource Orchestration

Although much is known about the importance of competencies for firm survival, little is known about competencies which are specifically beneficial to financial resource orchestration in fringe industries. The project explores what the key behavioral competencies are that relate to financial resource orchestration, and how entrepreneurs develop these competencies.  

Internationalisation, Cooperation and Innovation Performance of SMEs: Evidence from Japan and Germany

This project however studies how the internatinalization associates innovation. We focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and consider the link is moderated by inter-firm cooperation and is contingent by the determinants of product newness, firm size, sectoral importance and country differences.


Research Grants

Research Area:  Design-Thinking in Action: Challenges and Management for Innovation Success. 

Awarding Body:  Daiwa Anglo-Japanese foundation.


Research Area: Innovation, Enterprise, and SME Engagement in Emerging Markets: from product innovation to business model innovation

Awarding Body:  the Seed-Corn (pump-priming), University of Sussex, UK. 


Research Area: How Firms Learn About New Product Development in Their Business Networks

Awarding Body: the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA)


Research Area: Marketing in Smart Successful Scotland, Project MISSS

Awarding Body: the Scottish Enterprise


Research Interests

My research interests are mainly driven from work experience in industry.  My PhD study investigates how firms learn about new product development in their business networks.  ‘Multi-disciplinary’ approach is at the heart of my research development.  My current work mainly entails big data analytics and mixed research methods; specifically, I am interested in the National Community Innovation Survey results in Germany, Japan and the UK (see ZEW Discussion Paper, 16-078, Mannheim 2016).   The research theme that my earlier work has enjoyed the biggest impact is that of B2B marketing, product innovation, global networking (see Industrial Marketing Management, 40 (5), 691-698).  Another stream is that of business networks and management learning (see Management Learning, 46(3), 337 -360). My research has subsequently evolved to look at marketing strategy; network collaboration, product innovation and social media (see International Journal of Online Marketing, 6(3), 15 – 33), contributing to several under revision/review journal papers (see my C.V.).  Since 2019, I invovle in the research projects on the topic of Design-Driven Innovation, resulting in several important engagement such as awarded fundingand  international workshop.  

I have involved and obtained several research grants from different funding bodies.  For example, working with Professor Susan Hart and Professor Gillian Hogg, I studied the best marketing practices in Scotland, a project sponsored by the Scottish Enterprise.  As a principle investigator (PI), I successfully obtained a research grant from the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) to investigate business network learning in managing product development.  I have also led a research team and won a Seed-Corn pump-priming funding to study innovation, enterprise, and SME engagement in emerging markets.  This research project have generated several further research projects and then publications in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and SMEs. My research project 'Design-Thinking in Action' has won the research award supported by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation (2019 - 2022)


I am looking for PhD Studentswith interest in studying product development and innovation management, for example: desing-driven innovation, open innovation, absorptive capability and dynamic capabilities, social media, digital marketing, SMEs, and internationalization. Students with a multi-disciplinary approach are welcomed.  


PhD Supervisions Completed

Weifan Zhang, ‘The Medical Device Market and its Industrial Evolution in China’, University of Sussex.  Weifan has successfully defended his thesis with minor changes on 9 October, 2016.


Current Teaching

Undergraduate Studies: 

- Managing Marketing Innovation (MKTG315)

- Marketing Research (MKTG210)

- Introduction to Marketing (MKTG101)


Postgraduate Studies:

- Marketing Management (MNGT602, LUMS, UK)

- Marketing Management (EMMM, EMLyon Business School, Lyon, France)



Rebecca Liu has an MBA from the University of Missouri (USA) and a PhD from the University of Strathclyde (UK).

Rebecca's research is across the fields of innovation and new product development, network learning, design-thining, SMEs and internatinalisation.  Her doctoral research project was awarded by the Product Development Management Association (PDMA) and the Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM). 

Rebecca has more than 15 years commercial experience with leading global organisations (FedEx, General Motors, Philips Electronics and PA Consulting Group) where she held various managerial positions in the international markets.

Rebecca's publications appeared in several prestigious journal and international conferences, such as Industrial Marketing Management, Management Learning, British Academhy of Management (BAM) conference, International Product Development Management (Elasm-IPDM) Conference and Product Development Management Association (PDMA) Annual Research Forum.  



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