School of Economics

Martin J Fransman - Emeritus Professor of Economics

We are pleased to announce that Professor Martin J Fransman has been appointed as an Emeritus Professor of Economics following his retirement from the University at the end of October.

Martin Fransman will retire on 31 October 2017 after 39 years of service to the University. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg with a BA in 1968 (first class in Economics) and an MA (Economics) in 1973 (with distinction). He worked under Professor Ludwig Lachmann, pioneer of Austrian economics, who appointed him as a lecturer in economics in 1970. In 1971 he joined the newly-formed University of Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland, Swaziland campus, where he started the Department of Economics and stayed until 1977. From 1977 to 1978 he was a lecturer in economics at Queen Mary College, University of London. In 1978 he was awarded a PhD in development economics from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University. In 1978 he became a lecturer in economics at the University of Edinburgh and in 1987 a Reader. He was also attached to the University’s Centre of African Studies.

From the late-1970s Martin became interested in the so-called Asian Tiger Economies - Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea – which led to his research on Japan. From 1986 to 1987 Martin took his family to Japan where he was based at the University of Tokyo with a scholarship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. In 1991 his The Market and Beyond – Information Technology in Japan (Cambridge University Press, 1990) won the former Japanese Prime Minister’s Masayoshi Ohira Prize. In 1988 Martin was appointed to the NTT Chair of Telecommunications at the newly-established University of Tokyo Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and in 1992 he was again appointed to this position.

In 1988, with encouragement from Professor Ron Asher (then Dean of the Faculty of Humanities), Martin established the Institute for Japanese-European Technology Studies (JETS) at the University and became its Director with funding and support from NEC and Fujitsu, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and the UK Department of Trade and Industry. In 1989 JETS was formally launched at the British Embassy in Tokyo by the then British Ambassador to Japan, Sir John Whitehead, and by Professor David Smith, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. Martin was a co-founder of the University’s Institute for the Study of Science, Technology, and Innovation (ISSTI). In 2002 Martin’s Telecoms in the Internet Age: From Boom to Bust to…? (Oxford University Press), which dealt with the great Telecoms Boom and Bust of 1996-2003, was awarded the Wadsworth Prize for the best book on business history published in the UK. In 2008 he was awarded the 2008-2010 Joseph Schumpeter Prize for The New ICT Ecosystem – Implications for Policy and Regulation (Cambridge University Press, 2010), the most prestigious prize for the economics of innovation.

From 2016-2017 Martin held a Leverhulme Fellowship completing his fourteenth book, Innovation Ecosystems – How Does Innovation Happen? which will be published by Cambridge University Press.

With the enthusiastic support of his wife and children Martin decided some time ago that, like many other academics, he will be retiring but not stopping work. Indeed, he sees retirement as a wonderful opportunity to devote, in more relaxed circumstances, even greater time to his intellectual interests and to ‘giving something back’ to the society that has nurtured him.