First Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship doctoral researcher completes PhD degree

Jennifer Iie

Adaku Jennifer Agwunobi became the first Doctoral Researcher from the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to complete their PhD. Additionally, Adaku Jennifer is the first black PhD student to obtain a PhD at Loughborough University London, having passed her PhD viva just 2 years and 10 months after starting her PhD.

Adaku Jennifer’s project entitled 'Entrepreneurial health and wellbeing in the digital economy: an intersectional critical realist investigation' investigates the link between health and discrimination within the context of entrepreneurship in the digital economy as well as using intersectionality as a theoretical lens. Some of the topics covered include micro-aggressions, whitewashing, physical health, mental health, digital wellbeing, cyberbullying, stereotyping, stigma and more.

Speaking about the hope she has for the future and the importance of her research Jennifer said:

"Exploration of these topics is vital and fundamental to my research, particularly due to the ongoing social injustice and maltreatment of Black lives[…]we literally need to speak about mental health, racism, patriarchy and world peace. I hope to make a difference with my research and continue to centre the experiences of Black individuals in order to work towards the reduction and subsequent elimination of health disparities; ultimately aiming towards making the world a better, happier and healthier place."

Before joining Loughborough University London, Jennifer gained her master’s from the University of East Anglia in 2015 and her bachelor’s from Brunel, University of London in 2014.

Since joining the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Jennifer has immersed herself in the research community. Jennifer’s research was published in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, which was celebrated by the Loughborough Family in what has now become a tradition for doctoral researchers at Loughborough University London. Jennifer also was one of the voices in the student led video produced in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Adaku Jennifer also presented at several conferences during her PhD, including winning awards to attend the Academy of Management conference with the Health Care Management division two years in a row. She also chaired a paper session at the prestigious 2019 Academy of Management conference in Boston, US.

When asked about her time at Loughborough University London, Jennifer said:

"At Loughborough University London, I really loved being based on the Olympic Park and taking part in everything that was going on! I ensured that I made the most out of my experience, and I established several collaborations at Here East, too. I am so grateful for this experience and it was always so amazing being based around such innovative practises, people and inspirational projects. Nonetheless, there were a number of challenges, but I really enjoyed doing my PhD."

For most of her PhD Jennifer was supervised by Professor Wilfred Dolfsma and Dr Angela Dy. When speaking of Jennifer’s success, Dr Dy said:

"Adaku Jennifer Agwunobi’s PhD study has broken new theoretical ground by bringing together the emerging topics of digital entrepreneurship and intersectionality with the timely and relevant notion of wellbeing. Her innovative realist mixed methods approach allows for both quantitative and qualitative insights into the effects of the always-on digital environment on health and wellbeing outcomes for entrepreneurs in the digital economy, especially those at neglected points of intersection, such as Black women. I am thrilled about her PhD completion and am excited for her work to continue to shed some important light in the field of entrepreneurship studies."