DeGroote professor named top business and management scientist in Canada

February 28, 2022 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Izabela Shubair, DeGroote Contributor

During the 40 plus years DeGroote professor emeritus Robert G. Cooper has spent as a thought leader in product innovation management, a great deal has changed. But Cooper’s philosophy has remained consistent: find big problems and come up with big solutions. The approach has led to much success. Most recently, Cooper’s approach helped to earn him the No. 1 Canadian and No. 21 global spots on the 2022 edition of’s Top 1000 Scientists in Business and Management rankings.

Cooper isn’t the only McMaster faculty in the Canadian Top 20. Strategic management associate professor Nick Bontis’s ninth and professor emeritus Elko Kleinschmidt’s 20th spots give McMaster the distinction of being one of only two Canadian universities with three spots in the Top 20.

“I was surprised when I learned about the ranking,” says Cooper. “When I started to go through it, I saw other names I recognized and I was thrilled. It’s an honour to be included among incredible names and some of my colleagues.”

Years of Innovation

A leading academic researcher platform,’s rankings are based on qualitative and quantitative analysis of publications and citations. So, while Cooper’s ranking may have surprised him, his body of work backs his positions on the lists.

Having spent more than 40 years studying the practices and pitfalls of over 3,000 new products for thousands of companies, Cooper has assembled the world’s most comprehensive product innovation and management research. The prolific author and innovator has published more than 100 academic articles and 13 books, including the best-selling Winning at New Products, now in its fifth edition.

“I’ve always loved innovation and even as a kid, I was always asking, ‘Is there a better way to do this?’” says the former marketing and policy professor. “I always looked for the practical application of science in my own work. I’m still that way today, it’s a driving force.”

In addition to his 40,155 citations and 132 publications, Cooper has also pioneered ground-breaking product innovation discoveries. Almost 80 per cent of North American companies implement his Stage-Gate® Idea-to-Launch Process.

Cooper says McMaster played a crucial role in his ability to advance his research. He joined the university in 1983 — through a connection with one of his fellow Top 20 researchers.

“McMaster put me in an environment with like-minded people,” he says. “One of them was Elko Kleinschmidt. He was my PhD student when I taught at McGill. When Elko came to McMaster, he told me to come along. It was so important to have people to collaborate with, especially because at that time, this area of innovation research was very new. Also, most schools wouldn’t afford me what McMaster did, which was the opportunity to really spend time on this by being flexible. Then, the head of a DeGroote advisory council set up a chair for me to fund my research. That wouldn’t have happened anywhere else.”

Another Top 20 Connection

That’s not where the connections end between the three Top 20 ranked McMaster researchers. While Cooper and Kleinschmidt’s careers made them collaborators, they also have a special relationship with Bontis. Today, he is internationally recognized as a leading strategy and management expert. But in 1998, when Bontis’s career was in its early stages, his admiration for Cooper and Kleinschmidt played a role in his interest in joining DeGroote’s faculty.

“When I was interviewing for the job at McMaster, it was Bob and Elko who took me out for lunch,” he says. “They were what you wanted to aspire to, and to have them as mentors meant a lot. Fast forward 24 years later, and we still have that connection.”

DeGroote’s only 3M National Teaching Fellow, an exclusive honour reserved for the country’s top university professors, Bontis says his ranking is a testament to two things. The first is his love for the field of intellectual capital. The second is DeGroote’s commitment to research.

“Having three researchers in the Top 20 speaks to the quality of research and how important it is to translate that research into the real world,” he says. “We’ve all been able to make that transformation from academia to teaching excellence to community impact. Maybe that’s one of the secrets of getting into the Top 20: find a research question that not just researchers are interested in but also that students, the business community, and the world are interested in.”

3 thoughts on "DeGroote professor named top business and management scientist in Canada"

  1. Ray Verdon says:

    Excellent article about brilliant researchers, and McMaster.


    To have served as Elko’s TA during the 1982-83 academic year meant a lot to me.

  3. Wayne Jeffrey Dolly says:

    Great achievement for a Business School to have such a Great thought leader Robert G. Cooper in the Science of Business Management and to have a couple of younger well known mentees who have a more experienced mind for advice while they support the larger Research studies the #1 winner leads…I know NORAD Colonel-Kirk Cooper who ran proprietary trading models at a foreign domiciled Bank on Bay Street during the 1990’s and Personnel-Sherry Cooper the veteran Economist…I remember Bontis was a professor at MAC after I graduated from strong MAC Co-op MBA program (the candidates) and he played Western U soccer while I rostered with the Varsity Hockey team while a bunch of us were in London, Ontario at the school for undergrad.
    Wayne Dolly
    North American Defense Official

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