Dr Deema Refai

Dr Deema Refai


Deema Refai is an Associate Professor in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at the University of Leeds and is currently Joint Editor in Chief of The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Deema’s research focus is developed around constrained entrepreneurship, with a particular interest in the refugee and rural contexts, where she has led research projects funded by the British Academy, AHRC and others. Through her work, Deema has developed strong collaborations, particularly in Jordan and the UK, and has been involved in various activities, panels and discussions around issues relevant to refugees. Her work has been published in high-ranked international peer-reviewed journals and presented in a number of national and international conferences.
Prior to joining the University of Leeds, Deema has occupied academic roles at the University of Huddersfield/ UK and in Saudi Arabia. Coming from a pharmacy background, Deema has also worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a few years in Jordan.
Alongside her research interests, Deema is a passionate enterprise educator and has been involved in developing and leading various entrepreneurship-related subjects. Her teaching is largely informed by her research interests, where she is keen to enrich students’ learning experiences in meaningful ways that add value and relevance.

Research interests

Deema is interested in supervising PhD students in the following topics:

- Constrained entrepreneurship (with a particular interest in refugee entrepreneurship and rural entrepreneurship)

- Informal entrepreneurship

- Entrepreneurial learning   

Deema’s expertise is in qualitative research and has considerable knowledge in applying different philosophical paradigms in entrepreneurship research.


  • PhD
  • MSc
  • BSc Pharm

Professional memberships

  • Joint Editor in Chief International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Editorial board International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
  • FHEA

Current postgraduate researchers