Christopher Freeman (born 1921) is an English economist, the founder and first director of SPRU Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Sussex, and one of the most eminent modern Kondratiev wave and business cycle theorists, and contributed substantially to the revival of the neo-Schumpeterian tradition. He is married to Venezuelan economist Carlota Perez.
Freeman is Professor emeritus of Science Policy at the University of Sussex, England. He was the founder and the first Director, from 1966 to 1982 of SPRU, the Science Polity Research Unit of the University of Sussex and RM Phillips Professor of Science Policy. His main areas are technical change in economic theory, science and techology indicators, the diffusion of generic technologies and their future implications, structural change in the world economy, and the "catch-up" efforts of East Asian and Latin American countries.
He was the pioneer of the measurement of scientific and technological activities, in particular the statistical measurement of research and development. He introduced the concept of National System of Innovation with Lundvall.
He has mentored several generations of economists and social scientists working on technical change, innovation and the knowledge society. Among them, Keith Pavitt, Luc Soete, Carlota Perez, Mary Kaldor, B.-Å. Lundvall, Daniele Archibugi, Giovanni Dosi and Jan Fagerberg.
He holds several honorary doctorates including those from the Universities of Linköping, Sweden; Sussex, Middlesex, Birmingham, and Brighton. He received the 1987 Bernal Prize, the 1988 Schumpeter Prize, the 1993 Prix International du Futuroscope, and the 2001 World Technology Award for Policy. The new building of SPRU in Brighton is called the Freeman Centre.
In 2002, Franziska Orgstein claimed on the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, that during the war, Freeman had a sentimental affair with Queen Elisabeth, to become later the Queen Mother, when he was a Guards officer to Balmoral. Freeman was a young officer with a degree from the London School of Economics: "The young and attractive Queen saw the handsome officer and fell for him. A passionate affair ensued. Technically Freeman could have been charged with high treason and executed...but the affair prospered". The news, which bounced on English newspapers such as the Guardian (4 April 2002, diary by Matthew Norman) and The Independent (18 April 2002) has not been commented either by the Royal Family or by Freeman.