Karen Spens

BI Norwegian Business School

Karen Spens is the President of BI Norwegian and former Rector and Professor of Supply Chain Management and Corporate Geography at the Hanken School of Economics. Her research has mainly focused on humanitarian logistics in which she has published several books, co-founded the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management as well as the Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Research Institute (HUMLOG Institute). Today, the HUMLOG institute is one of the leading research institutes in the field of humanitarian logistics with a broad network of industry partners, NGO partners as well as universities.

With the help of several large research grants, the field has since advanced into a field of importance in logistics. Professor Spens has co-authored several books in the field, chapters in books and articles that have appeared in a broad spectrum of journals both within logistics as well as other related fields, for example disaster studies.

In 2006, she co-authored a seminal article that called for more research in the field of humanitarian logistics. In 2008, an institute for humanitarian logistics with the Defence University in Finland was created working together with NGOS, amongst others UNICEF and the Finnish Red Cross.

She has also been the co-editor of the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, as well as served on many of the editorial boards of premiere logistics journals. To develop the research area and cooperation within the field of humanitarian logistics Professor Spens has been a visiting researcher at BI (Norway), MIT (USA), Clark University (USA), and Griffith University (Australia). Professor Spens has also been involved in the startup of the so called Business Lead Program, a very successful initiative to integrate highly educated immigrants and refugees in the Finnish business culture. The program has won international awards (The EFMD Excellence in Practice (EiP) Gold medal) and was presented by Professor Spens at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in 2019.

She has served at Hanken as the Dean of Education 2010-2015. During this time she was in charge of the development of the Assurance of Learning-process, which aims at improving student learning.


Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration), Business Economics, Hanken School of Economics, Finland, 2001