Professor Alex Nicholls

alex nicholls

Contact Details

Phone: 01865 278811



Professor Alex Nicholls

Official Fellow and Tutor in Management

Professor of Social Entrepreneurship

Alex is the first tenured professor in social entrepreneurship appointed at the University of Oxford. He is also a Tutorial Fellow and Member of the Governing Body at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford

He was the first staff member of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in 2004, for which he helped raise the funding. Alex’s research interests range across several key areas within social entrepreneurship and social innovation, including: social and impact investment; the nexus of relationships between accounting, accountability, and governance; public and social policy contexts including impact bonds; and Fair Trade.

Nicholls has held lectureships at a wide variety of academic institutions including: University of Toronto, Canada; Leeds Metropolitan University; University of Surrey; Aston Business School and the University of Oxford. Prior to returning to academic life, Nicholls held senior management positions at the John Lewis Partnership, the largest mutual retailer in Europe. He also currently sits of the Board of several social enterprises. Alex earned a BA (Hons), MA and PhD in English Language and Literature from King’s College, London and an MBA from Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford.


Alex’s research focuses on several key areas within social entrepreneurship and social innovation. These include the nexus of relationships between accounting, accountability and governance; public and social policy contexts of social entrepreneurship including impact bonds; impact and social investing; and Fair Trade.


Alex teaches a variety of courses on social entrepreneurship, social innovation, management and marketing.He teaches undergraduates, MBA students, doctoral students and senior business executives.

Alex has developed numerous courses for the MBA and Executive MBA programmes as well as a suite of three impact focussed Executive Education courses: the Oxford Impact Investing Programme; the Oxford Impact Measurement Programme; the Oxford Social Finance Programme.

In his courses, Alex encourages students to learn and not just do and to engage with theory and research. His interactive teaching style is well-received by his students and he mixes practice and scholarship to impart a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Alex teaches on:

  • Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation
  • Rethinking Business and Markets
  • Impact Investing
  • Social Finance
  • Impact Measuring and Management
  • Public Policy Innovation
  • Social Enterprise Design
  • Systems Thinking
  • Ethical Consumption and Marketing
  • Impact Entrepreneurship