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Dr Nicola Searle

Dr Nicola Searle

BSFS International Economics (Georgetown University), MSc International Strategy and Economics (University of St Andrews), PhD Economics (University of St Andrews)

Honorary Research Fellow


Dr Nicola Searle is an economist who specialises in Intellectual Property (IP), with a focus on the Digital Economy. She is a Lecturer at the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London. From 2017 to 2021, Dr Searle is an EPSRC Digital Economy Fellow, where she is investigating the role of trade secrets in the digital economy. Prior to her current post, Dr Searle was a government economist at the UK Intellectual Property Office, a researcher at the School of Arts, Media & Computer Games at the University of Abertay, and a researcher at the University of St Andrews.  Before her academic career, Dr Searle worked in finance at Goldman Sachs.

Dr Searle is interested in exploring economic aspects of IP as an innovation policy. She applies this to the digital economy in two main areas: the creative industries and copyright, and the theft of trade secrets in the context of cybercrime.

See her web page at Goldsmiths.

Research specialisms

Economics of IP, IP policy, trade secrets, business models, economic espionage, copyright, digital economy

Creating Economy (cover)‌Selected publications


Townley, B., Roscoe, P. J. & Searle, N. (2019), Creating economy: enterprise, intellectual property and the valuation of goods, Oxford University Press

Searle, Nicola C. and M. Brassell (2016), Economic Approaches to Intellectual Property, Oxford University Press

Peer-reviewed Articles

Reid, G., Searle, N., and S. Vishnubhakat (2015) "What's it worth to keep a secret? Intellectual property protection under the EEA" 13 Duke Law & Technology Review

Franklin, M., Searle, N., Stoyanova, D. and Townley, B. (2013), Innovation in the Application of Digital Tools for Managing Uncertainty: The Case of UK Independent Film. Creativity and Innovation Management, 22: 320–333. DOI: 10.1111/caim.12029

Searle, N., (2012) "The Criminalization of the Theft of Trade Secrets: An Analysis of the Economic Espionage Act," IP Theory, 2:2, Available at

Book chapters

Searle, N. (forthcoming 2017) "The Hard Sell: Economics and IP Policy," in Waelde, C., & A. Brown, Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries, Edward Elgar.

Searle, N. (forthcoming 2017) "Business Models," in Jefferies, J., & S. Kember, Whose Book Is It Anyway?, CREATe Anthology. 

Searle, N. (forthcoming 2017) "Cultural Economics," in Durrer, V., Miller, T. & D. O'Brien, Routledge Companion to Cultural Policy, Routledge

Searle, N., and G. White, (2013) "Business Models for the Digital Creative Economy," in Towse, R. & C. Handke, Handbook of the Digital Creative Economy, Edward Elgar 

White, G. and N. Searle, (2013) "Commercial business models for a fast changing industry," in Hotho, S. & N. MacGregor, Changing the Rules of the Game, Palgrave MacMillan

Government reports

Searle, N., (2011) "Changing Business Models in the Creative Industries," UK Intellectual Property Office available at