Alan Wilfred Pearson

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Alan Wilfred Pearson
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Liverpool, England
Died2019(2019-00-00) (aged 84–85)
Alderley Edge, England
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom

Professor Alan Wilfred Pearson (1934-2019) was a British academic and a pioneer in the field of R&D management.[1] He was born in Liverpool in 1934 and died in Alderley Edge, Cheshire in 2019.

Education and Career

Pearson left school in 1951 and began work as a research assistant at Pilkington Glass in St. Helens. In 1960 he moved to Henry Simon in Cheadle Heath to work in the company’s flour milling research labs.

In 1965, Pearson joined the Faculty of Economics at the University of Manchester as a lecturer in Economic Statistics.[2] The Manchester Business School was founded in 1965, and in 1966 Pearson transferred to the new institution as a Lecturer in Operational Research. He spent the rest of his career there until retirement in 2001.

In 1967, with the support of the Ministry of Technology, Pearson founded and became Director of the R&D Research Unit at the Manchester Business School.[3] The R&D Research Unit was the precursor to the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIOIR) which today is Europe’s largest, and one of the world’s leading, research centres in its field.[4]

In 1970, Pearson founded the R&D Management Journal, in conjunction with Blackwell Publishers (now Wiley-Blackwell). It was the first publication in Europe dedicated to the discipline of research and development.[5] The journal publishes articles from practicing R&D managers and academic researchers covering exploratory science through to commercial exploitation in topics related to research, development, design, innovation, strategic and human resources and examining social, economic and environmental implications.

In 1999, Pearson became the founding co-Managing Editor of the International Journal of Management Reviews (IJMR), published by Blackwell Publishers (now Wiley-Blackwell).[6] IJMR was the first review journal in the field of business and management and is now an essential reference tool for business academics and students. During his career he authored or co-authored more than 90 articles for academic journals and was recognised as a leading contributor to the discipline of R&D management.[7]

At the Manchester Business School, Pearson was Director of the MBA Programme (1985-88) and Dean of Faculty (1992-94). In recognition of his outstanding contribution, the Manchester Business School appointed him Professor of R&D Management in 1994.[8]

Throughout his career, Pearson actively worked with other academic institutions around the world such as the Centre for Creative Leadership (Greensboro, North Carolina, USA), the University of Kiel (Kiel, Germany), and the University of Twente (Twente, Netherlands). In 1991 the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awarded Pearson the prestigious Max Planck Research Award[9] for his work with German academic Klaus Brockhoff.[10] The award was initiated in 1960 to promote international collaboration between German and foreign scientists.


  1. "Obituary: Professor Alan Wilfred Pearson". So Cheshire. 2019-01-18. Retrieved 2020-03-14.
  2. "Fifty Years of MBS - Memories", Accessed 9th October 2019
  3. John F. Wilson, "The Manchester Experiment – A History of Manchester Business School, 1965-1990", Paul Chapman Publishing, 1992
  4. Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Accessed 9th October 2019
  5. About RADMA, Accessed 9th October 2019
  6. International Journal of Management Reviews, Volume 1, Issue 1, March 1999 Blackwell Publishers
  7. [1], Accessed 15th April 2020
  8. Manchester Business School
  9. Max Planck Research Award, Accessed 9th October 2019
  10. [2], Accessed 15th April 2020

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