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Jon Thomas

Jon Thomas, PhD

Director, Esposito Family Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (EFCIE)
BC Regional Innovation Chair in Canada-India Partnership Development, UFV
Associate Professor, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

School of Business

Abbotsford campus, K178

Phone: 604-557-4019

email Jon

Jon Thomas is committed to growing the potential for innovation and entrepreneurship across UFV through interdisciplinary teaching and collaborative research opportunities for the university and the Fraser Valley communities. Jon has continued to build upon his already established scholarly activity with two recently published journal articles: the first article in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business examines the impact of regional innovation ecosystems on the commercialization activities of star scientists. The second article in the Journal of Cleaner Production analyzes market-entry strategies for electric vehicle start-ups in the automotive industry through a case study of Tesla Motors. He presented his research on star-scientist-entrepreneurs at the 2019 Technology Transfer Society Annual Conference at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto in September 2019. In April 2019, Jon’s Computer Information Systems student research collaborator, Jordan Evans, presented a co-authored paper, “Exploring Innovation in the Fraser Valley”, at the ISPIM Connects Ottawa Conference. Jon also presented his own research, “Endowing university spin-offs pre-formation: Entrepreneurial capabilities for scientist-entrepreneurs”, at this international peer-reviewed academic conference.

Jon Thomas says,
"Recent global trends indicate that jobs which involve a significant proportion of routine and repetitive tasks are being automated or replaced by artificial intelligence. As a result, students and the working population are seeking to develop higher-order skills that will prepare them for complex jobs best performed by humans. Management education offers an increasingly important pathway to develop these higher order skills such as the generation and management of innovative ideas in organizations.

At UFV, I would like to see the development of interdisciplinary programs and courses that provide students and learners with these higher-order skills needed for the rapidly changing workplace. Several such programs are at various stages of development at UFV. With vision and adequate resources, UFV can build on such interdisciplinary programs and strengthen its reputation as an innovative and entrepreneurial institution."


Dr. Jon Thomas is the Director of the Esposito Family Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (EFCIE), and the BC Regional Innovation Chair in Canada-India Partnership Development at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). He is an Associate Professor (Innovation & Entrepreneurship) at the UFV School of Business. Prior to joining UFV, Jon was a post-doctoral researcher and taught in the Technology MBA program at Simon Fraser University. He also held a Mitacs Elevate Post-doctoral fellowship funded by SFU Beedie and CDRD Ventures Inc. (UBC). Jon holds a PhD in Technology Management and Strategy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, along with an MBA, and an undergraduate degree in Statistics. He received an AICTE National Doctoral Fellowship for his doctoral research on innovation in the biotechnology sector in India.

Jon has provided innovation and entrepreneurship mentoring to students, post-doctoral fellows, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs for two decades in Canada and India. His interdisciplinary research has been published in Nature Nanotechnology, Technovation, Journal of Engineering & Technology Management, Scientometrics, and the Journal of Cleaner Production, among others. His research on science-based venture emergence is part of the curriculum used to develop the entrepreneurial capabilities of academic scientists across Canada.

He is regularly invited to speak on innovation and entrepreneurship topics, and he is keenly interested in the pre-formation and early post-formation stages of venture emergence, particularly from university settings.

Teaching Interests

Courses recently taught at UFV:

  • BUS 492: Directed Studies in Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • MGMT 350: Creativity and Innovation
  • BUS 227: New Business Development


Conference Presentations & Research Seminars

  • Endowing University spin-offs pre-formation: Entrepreneurial capabilities for scientist-entrepreneurs, ISPIM Connects Ottawa Conference, Ottawa, Canada, Apr. 2019.
  • The Drivers of Value Migration in the US Pharmaceutical Industry (1976-2010), DRUID17 Convention, New York, USA, Jun. 2017.
  • The Role of Star Scientists in Science-based University Spin-off Emergence, 15th Annual West Coast Research Symposium, Edmonton, Canada, Sept. 2017.
  • The Role of Star Scientists in University Spin-off Emergence
    • 6th Beedie Innovation Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Sept. 2016
    • 16th International Schumpeter Society Conference, Montreal, Canada, Jul. 2016 
  • Biomedical Innovation: Commercialization Strategies for Scientist-Entrepreneurs”, Academy of Management Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Aug. 2015
  • Patenting and Commercialization Strategy of a Star-Scientist: MIT’s Robert Langer
    • 1st SFU Postdoctoral Research Day, Burnaby, Canada, May 2015
    • Centre for Drug Research and Development, Vancouver, Canada, May 2015
    • 5th Beedie Innovation Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Jan. 2015
  • Radical Innovation in the Emerging Nanobiotechnology Industry, Centre for Drug Research and Development, Vancouver, Canada, Jun. 2014
  • Global Bio-Nano Firms: Exploiting the Confluence of Technologies,  4th Beedie Innovation Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Mar. 2013
  • Technological Innovation in the Indian Biotechnology Industry, 2nd IPR Researchers’ Confluence, I.I.T. Bombay, India, Feb. 2011 (Best Paper Award)
  • A Study of Technological Innovations in Firms in India, 5th Globelics Academy, University of Tampere, Finland, Jun. 2008


Google Scholar Profile


  1. Park, A., Goudarzi, A., Yaghmaie, P., Thomas, V. J., Maine, E. (2023) The role of pre-formation intangible assets in the endowment of science-based university spin-offs. Special Issue on: Intangible Assets and Innovation Management. International Journal of Technology Management.  
  2. Park, A., Goudarzi, A., Yaghmaie, P., Thomas, V. J., Maine, E.  Rapid response through the entrepreneurial capabilities of academic scientists. Nature Nanotechnology. 17, 802–807 (2022). Impact Factor (2021): 230.
  3. Thomas, V. J., Bliemel, M., Shippam, C., & Maine, E. (2020). Endowing university spin-offs pre-formation: Entrepreneurial capabilities for scientist-entrepreneurs. Technovation, 96-97. doi:10.1016/j.technovation.2020.102153
  4. Thomas, V. J., Maine, E. (2019). Market entry strategies for electric vehicle start-ups in the automotive industry - Lessons from Tesla MotorsJournal of Cleaner Production, 235: 653-663.
  5. Thomas, V. J., Maine, E. (2019). Impact of regional systems of innovation on the formation of university spin-offs by biomedical star scientistsInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 37(2): 271-287.
  6. Maine, E., Thomas, V. J. (2017). Raising financing through strategic timing. Nature Nanotechnology, 12(2): 93–98.
  7. Maine, E., Thomas, V. J., Utterback, J. (2014). Radical innovation from the confluence of technologies: Innovation management strategies for the emerging nanobiotechnology industry. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 32(April-June 2014): 1–25.
  8. Maine, E., Thomas, V. J., Bliemel, M., Murira, A., Utterback, J. (2014). The Emergence of the Nanobiotechnology IndustryNature Nanotechnology, 9(1): 2–5.
  9. Thomas, V. J., Sharma, S., Jain, S. K. (2011). Using Patents and Publications to Assess R&D Efficiency in the States of the USAWorld Patent Information, 33(1): 4–10.
  10. Sharma,S., Thomas, V. J. (2008). Inter-country R&D Efficiency Analysis: An Application of Data Envelopment AnalysisScientometrics, 76(3): 483–501.

Conference Proceedings

  1. Sandhu, J. K., Thomas, V. J. (2022) Identifying commercialization challenges for entrepreneurial firefighting start-ups. PICMET 2022. Portland, USA.
  2. Thomas, V. J., Bliemel, M., Shippam-Brett, C., Maine, E. (2016). The Role of Star Scientists in University Spin-off Emergence, R&D Management Conference 2016, July 3-6, 2016. Cambridge, UK.
  3. Thomas, V. J., Jain, S. K., Sharma, S. (2009). Analyzing R&D Efficiency in Asia and the OECD: An Application of the Malmquist Productivity IndexIEEE Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy (ACSIP 2009), Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA.
  4. Thomas, V. J., Jain, S. K., Sharma, S. (2008), R&D Efficiency in the USA: An Application of DEA, GLOGIFT 2008, June 14-16, 2008, Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, USA.


  1. Thomas, V.J. (2016) Review of Healthcare Best Practices in Supporting Technological Innovation. (Commissioned by Innovation Boulevard and the Office of the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, Government of British Columbia).

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Accounting Alumni

I have a great appreciation for the professor who pushed me to get my CA designation. Isn’t it crazy how a little conversation can change your life so completely. Keith’s guidance alone has given me a lifetime of happiness and wealth. If I had gone to a larger university who knows if something like that would have ever happened. I am very proud of the route I took, but I wouldn’t have gotten there without my professors at UFV.

  • – Alex McAulay
  •    BBA Accounting, 2008

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