Dr Karla Zimpel-Leal


Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Enterprise

Oxford Brookes Business School

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • Consultancy Project (Module Leader)
  • Operations, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Module Leader)
  • Entrepreneurial Theory and Practice
  • Client Project
  • Synoptic Research Project
  • MSc Dissertation


  • The Entrepreneur
  • Strategic Management


I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students who would like to work broadly within of my areas of interest in business model innovation, entrepreneurship, homecare models, ageing-in-place, care workforce development.


My research interests are multidisciplinary and currently involves two streams: emerging and disruptive homecare models for older adults and care workforce development and professionalisation. Further areas of research interests are longevity, healthy ageing, prevention, business model innovation and knowledge transfer.

Research Projects 
UKRI Innovation Fellowship (PI) (Jan 2018 – Mar 2021)
Title: Advancing business innovation and skills development in homecare sector (£310,000)

Research group memberships:

Grants, funding and awards:

  • KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) (2022-2024) between OBBS and LCMB Building Performance (funded by Innovate UK), £193,178.
  • ESRC Network Grant (Co-I) (Mar 2022 – Mar 2023), Title: UK-South Korea Ageing in Place Research Network, Value: £52,000
  • ESRC Innovation Fellowship (PI) (Jan 2018 – Mar 2021), Title: Advancing business innovation and skills development in homecare sector, Value: £310,000
  • WUN Research Mobility Programme Grant (PI) (June 2020), Title  Homecare Models for an ageing population: a case study of Brazil and UK, Value: £2,500 
  • Landmark Futures Scheme (PI) (April 2020), Title: Innovation in Ageing Well and Social Care 
  • Impact Acceleration Grant (PI) Oct 2018 - March 2019, Title: Innovation co-creation with homecare organisations, Value £3,600

Research impact

I work closely with homecare providers, policymakers, regulators and commissioners in the care sector, advancing business model innovation, promoting sustainability and growth, as well as influencing social policy.

Centres and institutes

Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution

  • UK-South Korea Ageing in Place Research Network (led by TDE) (01/02/2022 - 29/02/2024), funded by: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Academy of Management (AoM) Member
  • Associate Fellow at Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)
  • Fellow at Zinc
  • Visiting Fellow at CIRCLE (Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equality), The University of Sheffield.
  • Reviewer AoM Annual Conference (TIM and HCM divisions)
  • Reviewer Quality in Ageing and Older Adults Journal
  • Reviewer Social Policy and Society Journal



  • “Value propositions of homecare models in England: implication for workforce”, GSA Conference, 4-7 Nov 2020, Online. 

  • “Emerging models of Home Care providers in the UK”, Transforming Care Conference, 24-26 June 2019, Copenhagen. 

  • "Things are not always what they seem: how generative mechanisms explain scientific knowledge transfer" Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 10-14 August 2018, Chicago. 

  • “Neither carrot nor stick: relatedness mechanisms for academic-industry knowledge transfer and implications for policy” University Industry Innovation Conference, 20-22 June 2018, London. 

  • “Knowledge transfer between a food research institute and industry: the role of Open Innovation and Social Capital” 22nd Innovation and Product Development Management Conference, 14-16 June 2015, Copenhagen. 

  • “Open Innovation in practice: the mediating role of social capital and open modes” 15th International CINet Conference, 7-9 September 2014, Budapest.


Further details

I am a social scientist with research and teaching emphasis on innovation and enterprise. My research is inspired by real world challenges that can inform both academia and industry. The latest research is aligned to the UK’s Industrial Strategy grand challenge of an Ageing Society, looking at emergent business models in the homecare sector. I work closely with homecare organisations, policy makers and regulators, developing a sustained engagement with these stakeholders and the wider care landscape in the UK. 

My previous research encompasses innovation management and knowledge transfer, particularly focusing on understanding the generative mechanisms that are driving knowledge exchange between science and industry in the food sector, and addressing this sector’s challenges such as healthy ageing, nutrition and food security whilst reducing waste and environmental impact. Before re-joining academia and with an entrepreneurial spirit, I have spent many years paving my own road through founding a bespoke gifting retail business in London and co-founding a beekeeping business in Norwich, as well as being a consultant in Supply Chain Management and Procurement for organisations such as; Office of Communications (OFCOM), Ealing Council and Lotus Cars. My academic degrees comprise a BBA (Hons) in Business and International Trade from Unisinos, Brazil, an MSc (distinction) in Supply Chain Management and a PhD in Scientific Knowledge Transfer, both from Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, UK.