Dr Teemu Makkonen

Marie Curie Fellow within the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management



Teemu studied as an undergraduate in the University of Turku, majoring in Human Geography with minors in Contemporary History, Economics and Statistics. His master's thesis concerned the interconnections between nature tourism and regional development in the border areas between Finland and Russia. After graduating with his MSc in Human Geography in May 2008, he worked for over a year as a Researcher in the Centre for Marine Studies, University of Turku, on projects concerning the maritime industry, regional development and tourism management in maritime areas and archipelago settings. He then embarked on an academic career as a PhD Student in the Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki. The focus of his PhD thesis was on innovation measures and regional development. He defended his thesis, entitled `Geography of innovation in Europe and Finland: Empirical studies on innovation indicators and regional development´, in November 2012 and was awarded his PhD in December 2012. During the last months of his PhD work he also worked as a (part-time) University Teacher in the Pan-European Institute at the Turku School Economics at the University of Turku, an institute that he later joined (January 2013) as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on issues related to cross-border cooperation and economic development of the Baltic Sea Region and Russia. Most recently (from January 2014 to September 2014) he worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Border Region Studies, University of Southern Denmark, on issues related to cross-border R&D and scientific cooperation as well as on a project on cross-border shopping and tourism marketing. He joined the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in October 2014.

Research interests

Research FocusTeemu's research interests throughout his academic career have focused on broad themes in economic geography, and related disciplines, including innovation studies, regional development and the services industry - especially tourism.

Current ProjectCross-Border Regional Innovation System Integration (CRISI): The project aims at providing insightful knowledge on cross-border regional cooperation in terms of how different types of proximity and levels of integration of cross-border regional innovation systems (CBRIS) impact on knowledge transfer mechanisms and levels of innovativeness in SMEs. More specifically, the study will address the following objectives: 1) Compare the effects of different types of proximity on knowledge transfer and innovativeness amongst SMEs in cross-border regions (CBRs), 2) Develop methodologies for measuring the levels of integration of CBRISs and 3) Evaluate the success of cross-border cooperation projects in facilitating cross-border knowledge flows and innovation in the service industries, through a tourism case study. The study will utilize both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as both comparative EU-level data and in depth case study materials (statistical, survey and interview data). The project aims at making an original theoretical and empirical contribution, through being among the first substantial empirical studies on the theoretical underpinnings of CBRISs, levels of integration of CBRs and knowledge transfer and joint innovation in tourism cross-border cooperation projects. These contributions are highly policy relevant as the long term success of CBRs depends on collective efforts to further integration on a trans-regional level in order to develop common innovation systems. This underlines the importance of investigating the possibilities of (sustainable) socio-economic and socio-cultural development in these regions to meet the cohesion goals of the EU. Therefore, the study will aim at providing an analysis of `best practices´ not only for the case study policy makers but also for other EU CBRs and cross-border cooperation projects in order to enhance European competitiveness as a whole.

The project is funded by the Marie Curie Actions (http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/): Intra-European Fellowship for career development within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the EU under Grant PIEF-GA-2013-624930.

Research collaborations

  • Dr Timo J. Hokkanen (Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Karelia) on Finnish-Russian cross-border collaboration
  • Professor Tommi Inkinen (University of Helsinki) on innovation and regional development
  • Dr Sari Repka (University of Turku) on innovation inducement impacts of environmental regulations on maritime transport
  • Professors Nils Karl Sørensen and Bodo Steiner, Associate Professor Timo Mitze and PhD Student Rannveig Edda Hjaltadóttir (University of Southern Denmark) on cross-border R&D and scientific cooperation, innovation and economic development
  • Dr Adi Weidenfeld (Middlesex University) on cross-border regional innovation systems
  • Associate Professor Tan Yigitcanlar (Queensland University of Technology) on knowledge-based urban development