Dr Karen Bonner

Principal Economist

Ulster University Economic Policy Centre

Belfast campus

Room BA-02-031,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,

Business and Management Research

Principal Economist

Dr Karen Bonner


Dr Karen Bonner is a Senior Economist at the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre (EPC) and a Research Associate of the Enterprise Research Centre.  Prior to joining the EPC in April 2020 Karen was a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Karen’s research interests lie within the area of entrepreneurship, innovation and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth. Karen is one of the UK team members on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) project, regarded as the world’s foremost study of entrepreneurial activity.

Karen’s PhD was motivated by the enduring productivity gap between NI and the UK. Focusing on NI firms, and creating a unique panel dataset for the analysis, she specifically sought to examine how firms’ productivity growth is affected by exporting, innovation and public financial assistance.

Karen leads the firm-level strand of research at the EPC and is also module co-ordinator for the Economic Policy module.

Recent and current projects

  • Strategic Innovation Opportunities for Northern Ireland (2021)
  • The Impact of Covid-19 on Northern Ireland Business Start Up Activity (2021)
  • Back to the Start-up (2021)
  • A framework for economic, social & environmental progress - The Competitiveness Scorecard for Northern Ireland (2020)
  • The impact of Covid-19 on business activity in Northern Ireland (2020)
  • Global Entrepreneurship Monitor UK 2019 Monitoring Report (2020)