Spring Conference Committee

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The Conference Committee is responsible for the design and delivery of the PraxisAuril annual conference. The Conference Committee is formed of some of the most experienced senior staff from several of the leading technology transfer and knowledge exchange organisations in the UK. The Conference Committee members also co-ordinate the conference sessions and recommend speakers and topics.

The PraxisAuril office contact for the Conference Committee team is Nicky Warnock.

Michael Bath RTTP

Technology Transfer Manager, Durham University
Michael is the Chair of the Conference Committee. He has worked in Technology Transfer since September 1999. Currently employed by Durham University, he previously worked for five years at RTC North (an independent TT company)Prior to RTC North, he worked for twelve years in various manufacturing and materials management roles, mainly at Rolls-Royce. Recent work includes the creation of Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) PLC - originally Durham Graphene Science Ltd (DGS). Alongside the academic inventor, Michael served on the Board of Directors for three years, building the business from scratch, securing V.C. investments and winning multiple grants, awards and contracts. AGM floated on AIM in 2013 and now employs 34 staff.

Dr. Phil Clare RTTP

Board Member
Deputy Director, Research Services, University of Oxford
Phil is Chair of PraxisAuril's Advocacy Committee. His main focus of responsibility as Associate Director, Research Services and Head of Knowledge Exchanges at the University of Oxford includes research contracts, intellectual property management and industry links. He has been a member of the PraxisUnico Board for several years, and before that spent six years on the committee of ARMA, the Association of Research Managers and Administrators. He used to be a chemist but a year after completing his PhD accidentally became an administrator. Since leaving science, he has been working in research administration and innovation at the Universities of Bath, Bournemouth and Oxford, and also worked for the UK Research Office in Brussels. He is a director of Fluvial Innovations Ltd, a small start-up, and the Oxford Football league, a local social enterprise. He has just completed an executive MBA at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. He believes passionately in the importance of research in universities to the economic and intellectual life of any country, and the role of research support and technology transfer offices in supporting that contribution.

Dr. Angela Kukula RTTP

Director of Enterprise, Institute of Cancer Research
Angela Kukula is Director of Enterprise at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. The Enterprise Unit manages all intellectual property and commercial issues at The Institute including arranging collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, negotiating clinical trial agreements, patenting, licensing and the formation of spin-out companies. Angela has a BA in Biochemistry from Oxford University and PhD in Immunology and Genetics from the Institute of Child Health University of London. She also has an MBA specialising in technology management and an LLM in commercial law. After a post-doc position at Osaka University in Japan, Angela spent a number of years managing international collaborative R&D programmes in the Pharmaceutical industry, before moving into technology transfer. Prior to joining ICR, Angela was Head of IP and Commercialisation at Aston University where she was responsible for all of the University's technology transfer activities. Angela has managed portfolios of over 100 patent families and has concluded a large number of licensing and commercialisation deals. She has also been instrumental in the establishment of several spin-out companies. She regularly lectures on innovation and intellectual property matters and sits on a number of national and international research and exploitation bodies.

Dr. Frank Allison

Managing Director, FIS360 Ltd.
Frank is a director and co-founder of FIS360 Ltd. which has a successful track record of supporting the commercialisation of early stage technologies and taking them through to a commercial offering, generating funding and returning revenues to a range of clients including academic institutions, SME’s and large corporates. Previously, Frank worked in the Middle East for Dhahran Techno Valley Company (DTVC) to establish a technology commercialisation business unit, setting the vision and strategy and subsequently building a multi-disciplinary team to facilitate the commercialisation of technologies which generate revenues and maximise social and economic benefit for Saudi Arabia. Prior to this Frank spent over 10 years working at The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP), with responsibility for managing a portfolio of spin-out companies and licensing opportunities. Frank has also held a number of board positions for spin-out companies, been a committee member on a variety of steering and energy foresight groups and devised and delivered a number of regional innovation funding initiatives (Innovus and a Co-Managed Energy Innovation Fund). Frank’s career started in the steel industry before moving to California to work as an engineer in the space and aerospace industries. Frank graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a BEng (Hons) in Materials Science and a PhD in Biomaterials Science from the University of Nottingham.

Dr. Paul Ashley

Head of Technology Transfer, University of Oxford
With an undergraduate degree in Zoology, Paul worked as a curator for SeaLife Centres public aquariums before completing an MRC and industry sponsored PhD CASE studentship studying behavioural and physiological correlates of stress and depression. A postdoctoral research fellow position then followed, conducting research into behaviour and neurophysiology correlates of pain. Paul then became the CEO of a spin-out company, commercialising remote monitoring and biotelemetry technology developed at the Defence Science Technology Laboratory. Following this, Paul took up a role at AstraZeneca as a member of the management team at the company’s environmental risk assessment facility. Paul joined Oxford University Innovation as a Deputy Head of Technology Transfer in July 2011. Paul runs a team of life science Technology Transfer Managers with a broad range of commercial and scientific experience, including drug development, medical technologies, immunology, genetics, biomarkers, diagnostics, vaccines, biochemistry and cell biology. Notable commercialisation projects include the creation of a range of joint ventures and spin out companies in the fields of gene therapy, vaccine production, drug discovery and medical devices as well as the completion of a variety of life science technology licensing agreements. Paul is the relationship manager for a number of high profile charitable research funders and partners.

Rob Evans

Technology Transfer Manager, Cranfield University
Rob is currently Technology Transfer Manager at Cranfield University. He graduated from the University of Leeds with BSc (Hons) in Geological Sciences, he then worked for a while looking for oil reserves in the UK before completing an MBA at Bradford, and became a management consultant specialising in business strategy, working for a diverse collection of clients from industries such as the mobile telephones, agrichemicals, caravans, the motor trade. He also co-ordinated one of the first consumer trials of video-on-demand technology in the UK using the (then) new ADSL technology. Rob joined Sheffield Hallam University in 2002 in a business development and advisory role, and moved into IP management where he was a Technology Transfer Manager for 12 years. He is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.

Paul Findlay

Director of Business Development, University of Hertfordshire
Paul is Director of Business Development at University of Hertfordshire. Paul’s background is in microelectronics, where he conducted contract research, led professional training, was awarded a patent and concluded a successful licensing deal. Having been awarded a Business Fellowship by HEFCE - one of only eleven granted across England - Paul joined the University of Hertfordshire’s Enterprise and Business Development unit, with responsibility for developing University-wide capacity in knowledge transfer and innovation. Paul authored the University’s Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) strategies, all of which received regional and national approval, with the round 4 and 5 strategies being specially commended. At present Paul is Director of Business Development, managing Business Development and Knowledge Transfer Units and the in-house IP Pipeline aimed at developing research outcomes into commercial propositions. He is also a member of the Association of University Technology Managers, the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Institute of Knowledge Transfer.

Simon Hepworth

Director of Enterprise, Imperial College London
Simon is seeking to connect more of Imperial’s academics, students and discoveries with leading entrepreneurs and pioneers from industry. His ultimate goal is to generate more opportunities for collaboration that make a real world impact. Simon joined Imperial College in September 2009 with 14 years corporate experience in the automotive and electronics sectors. He was a founder of the Corporate Partnerships activity at Imperial, and led the development of the Imperial Business Partners membership programme and the Foresight Practice. He is currently Chairman of the board of Imperial College Consultants Ltd (ICON) and sits on the Innovations Partnership Board, which oversees the technology transfer operations of the university. Prior to joining Imperial, Simon held engineering and commercial roles at Visteon and Ford Motor Company in the UK and overseas. He is an Engineer by training, with a DPhil in neural network based control from Oxford University and a BEng in systems engineering from Salford University.

Helen Johnstone

Partner, Potter Clarkson LLP
After returning to university and gaining an MBA with distinction from Leeds University, Helen took up the position of Deputy Head of the Patents Department at Reckitt Benckiser before joining Potter Clarkson in January 2001. Prior to studying for her MBA, Helen had worked for British Telecommunications plc, and another UK firm of Patent Attorneys. Since joining Potter Clarkson, Helen has continued to specialise in the mechanical, electro-optical and electro-mechanical areas, as well as medical devices. Helen also has extensive experience in the design field, dealing with all aspects of design protection, both registered and unregistered. In addition, Helen represents clients at hearings before the European Patent Office and has been involved in litigation before the UK Intellectual Property Office and the Patents County Court. In addition she regularly advises clients on IP strategy issues such as global filing strategies, and has been involved in due diligence exercises. She also has extensive experience of working with academic institutions and associated technology transfer departments. Helen became a partner in 2007. Helen is a member of the Education Committee of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. She has recently qualified as a Patent Attorney Litigator, having been awarded a Certificate in Intellectual Property Litigation and Advocacy Certificate with commendation, by Nottingham Trent University. When not at work, Helen enjoys spending time with her young family and running in an attempt to keep fit.

Miss. Rhian North

Technology Transfer Officer, Cardiff University
Rhian is Technology Transfer Project Officer at Cardiff University’s Research and Innovation Services. She has been working in technology transfer for 2 years, joining Cardiff University as a TTPO in August 2014 and previously working indirectly in the field with an SME.

Adebayo Ogunjimi

Technology Transfer Consultant, City, University of London
Dr Adebayo Oluyinka Ogunjimi (Yinka) has more than 15 years of technology development and commercialisation, most of which was gained in a commercial R&D environment. An entrepreneurial inventor, Dr Ogunjimi ran his own international business consulting on technology development and commercialisation for research organisations, Universities and companies in Engineering and Physical Sciences. Prior to setting up this business, Dr Ogunjimi was a Practice Leader for the Applied Mechatronics Team of one of the leading UK Research and Development organisations. He developed innovative technologies for clients through strategic partnership for capability and commercial exploitation.

Dr. Rupert Osborn

CEO, IP Pragmatics Ltd
Rupert Osborn is a co-founder of IP Pragmatics and was appointed CEO in January 2009. He has worked for 15 years at the interface between early stage biotechnology developers (e.g. academic/public sector institutions, SMEs) and downstream multi-national exploitation partners. A plant molecular biologist by training he spent 10 years with Zeneca Agrochemicals (now Syngenta) working in both research and then business development/licensing before moving to take up a business development position at a public sector owned intellectual property development and licensing company. At IP Pragmatics Rupert manages a growing IP consulting and services business which assists universities, government research organisations and companies with the assessment and exploitation of early stage life science technologies. A significant proportion of this work is for organisations outside of the UK including universities in Japan, Australia and in mainland Europe. Rupert has a MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from the University of Warwick.

Sue Ratcliffe

Head of IP, Synthomer UK
Sue is Head of IP at Synthomer and is an experienced Patent & Trade Mark attorney who has worked within in-house functions and in private practice as well as within tech the teach transfer department at Swansea University. Sue has experience in a range of areas in IP and has strong business & professional skills in Patent Litigation, Patent Prosecution, Dispute Resolution, and IP Commercialisation & Strategy. She has also worked in the education sector lecturing in IP law and has been a visiting Professor at institutions lecturing in IP law with a particular focus on International IP laws and conventions.

Dr. Jennifer Unsworth

Senior Attorney, Vault IP
Jennifer has a BSc in Medical Materials Science and a PhD in cartilage tissue engineering, both from the University of Nottingham. Following completion of her PhD, Jennifer held a research position at Smith & Nephew and technology transfer positions at the Universities of Nottingham and York, as well as in the NHS in Northern Ireland. Jennifer entered the profession in 2010 and joined Withers & Rogers in 2013. She qualified as a European Patent Attorney in 2014 and as a UK Patent Attorney in 2015.