International Business and Interdisciplinary Research

In line with our ambition to develop the research agenda, we have launched a number of projects that expand our traditional research. These projects have a societal connection beyond conventional business studies, addressing issues such as democracy, social innovations and global health.  


DRIVE-AB: Driving re-investment in R&D and responsible antibiotic use

DRIVE-AB (, financed by IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative), is a joint undertaking between the EU and the European Pharmaceutical Industry Association that is tasked with developing new economic models to incentivize R&D in antibiotics. In this project, the Department of Business Studies has leading roles in both research and project management and works with pharmaceutical firms and policy-makers to identify challenges to antibiotic R&D and suggest how these challenges may be overcome using incentives and policy changes that target companies’ business models and the existing business cases that guide antibiotic R&D. With the confines of the DRIVE-AB project, the Department is partnered with 15 universities (e.g. Princeton, LSE, Boston, Geneva) and 7 pharmaceutical companies (e.g. AstraZeneca, GSK, Roche, Pfizer) from 12 countries. Moreover, in this project our Department also collaborates with external stakeholders such as WHO, UN, World Bank, and about 60 European SMEs. Within Uppsala University, the DRIVE-AB project entails also collaboration between the Department of Business Studies and the ReAct center, the Uppsala Antibiotic Center, as well as with several departments, faculties, and research groups from Information Systems, Law, Medicine and Pharmaceutics, Global Health, Economic history, and Engineering.

Project leader: Francesco Ciabuschi
Project members: Olof Lindahl
Duration: 2014-2017
Financed by: IMI (EU)

Internationalization and democracy

The main goal of the project is to study the interaction between Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and the political environment in developing countries. Many countries go through political changes, for example, a democratization process, political instability or a setback toward autocracy. One of the research project questions is to answer on a macro level how MNCs play a role in these political changes. Another question is to go on a mezzo and examine how MNCs’ investments in a specific sector might play more concrete role in impacting the political change.

The subject of IB and the political environment in general, or more specifically democracy is understudied from an internationalization theory’s point of view. Therefore, the aim is bridge this gap from both theoretical and empirical point of view.  

Project leader: Ulf Holm
Project members: Mats Forsgren, Amer Skeiker, Lena Zander
Duration: 2018-2021

The ASB-Project: Aligning industry incentives with AMR control goals: Exploring the feasibility of an antibiotic susceptibility bonus for drugs to treat gram-negative infection

High prices create incentives for industry to develop new antibiotics, but also incentivize firms to promote their products to maximize sales volume. This multidisciplinary study explores the feasibility of an intervention intended to re-align pharmaceutical industry interests with the minimization of AMR and with the overall prolongation of antibiotic efficacy through time. The proposed intervention allows pharmaceutical companies to qualify for staged bonuses if pathogen susceptibility to their antibiotic remains above a given threshold, despite a certain minimum volume of usage.

This Antibiotic Susceptibility Bonus (ASB) may help maximize efforts towards good prescribing practice and towards minimizing the risk of the development of antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. The lure of a bonus greater than expected revenues from unit sales could help align efforts behind antibiotic stewardship efforts in hospitals, communities, agriculture, and the environment, bolstering public and private AMR initiatives across One Health sectors.

This project will evaluate the feasibility of the ASB from the intricacies of representative susceptibility sampling, to calculating optimal bonus magnitudes based on market considerations, true product “usefulness”, and access-related factors, and ultimately how each of these could be constructively applied to case studies of late stage candidate antibiotics targeting multi-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

Project leader: Olof Lindahl
Project members: Chantal Morel, Suzanne Edwards
Duration: 2018-2020
Financed by: Vetenskapsrådet

Value-ABP: Value creation in the fight against antibiotic resistance: Exploring the roles of business actors in international multisectoral partnerships

Rapidly increasing anti-microbial resistance (AMR) constitutes a global threat. In combination with a quick decline in antibacterial drug development by pharmaceutical firms, a number of “international multi-sectorial partnerships” (IMSPs) have been founded to address this urgent threat. These partnerships consist of actors from different countries ranging from business and government to academia and civil society. Received research knows little about what influences the success or failure of this new and complex kind of partnership. Thus our aim is to understand how differences between actors from different sectors, potential conflicts of interest, and the international dimension to such organizations are related to their value creation processes and outcomes. Specifically, in this project we will map the different roles that business partners play in IMSPs. The project will utilize a multiple-case study, a survey, and a computer agent-based model to analyze cases where “business partner” involvement and their relationships with other types of actors has furthered or hindered the creation of value in IMSPs. The findings will shed much needed light on influential factors that determine the functioning of IMSPs and their success to fight AMR. The scientific output will be a number of publications in peer reviewed journals and will also be communicated to politicians and policymakers within health and industry in Sweden, the EU, and internationally (e.g. WHO and UN).

Project leader: Francesco Ciabuschi
Project members: Olof Lindahl (and other members from other UU institutions)
Duration: 2018-2020
Financed by: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond