Conference Committee

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The PraxisAuril Conference Committee is responsible for the design and delivery of the PraxisAuril annual conference. The Committee is made up of volunteers from across the PraxisAuril membership and is Chaired by Amanda Selvaratnam, Associate Director of Research and Enterprise and Head of Enterprise Services at the University of York. If you would like to find out more about volunteering opportunities for future annual conferences please get in touch!

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

Amanda Selvaratnam

Head of Enterprise Services, Associate Director Research and Enterprise, University of York
Following a scientific career in research and industry, Amanda moved into business intelligence with Glaxo SmithKline prior to joining the University of York in 1999. Amanda is currently Director of Enterprise Services at the University responsible for the engagement of the University with business with a special focus on the development and delivery of professional development and executive education courses, technology transfer and commercialisation, apprenticeships and regional economic development. Amanda is also the Founder and Director of the Training Gateway an organisations that supports UK training and education organisations win training and education contracts and develop partnerships overseas. Amanda has worked extensively in the ASEAN region and the Gulf and sits on the UK ASEAN Business Council representing Higher Education and SMEs.

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.

Tim Brundle

Director of Research and Innovation, Ulster University
Timothy Brundle is Director of Innovation at the University of Ulster. He is responsible for the University’s commercial output and is the CEO of Innovation Ulster Ltd, Ulster’s award-winning knowledge venturing and investment company. Timothy has fifteen years experience in both the successful commercialisation of technology and in business and economic development. His background in the private and academic sectors is complemented by success in the start up, growth and sale of technology companies, in the management of public to private sector transition and in strategic change management. He is an angel investor and an experienced Director of both young companies and mature public Institutions. Timothy is a Board member of the economic development agency for Northern Ireland, Invest NI, and a Panel Member of MATRIX, Northern Ireland's science-industry advisory council.

Stuart Duncan

Business Development Executive, University of Edinburgh
Stuart joined the Edinburgh Innovations team at the University of Edinburgh in 2012 following a career primarily in Pharma and more latterly in Knowledge Transfer. He is the primary point of contact for all Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation activities within the School of Chemistry at Edinburgh. Increasingly his focus is on creating multi-disciplinary opportunities for enduring long term collaborative and strategic partnerships with industry. Stuart studied Chemistry at St Andrews and holds an MBA from Durham.

Dr. Rebecca Edwards

Head of Academic Operations, Bournemouth University
I lead the Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team to work across BU through a series of corporate level initiatives designed to ensure our research activities are informed by society for the benefit of society. This role builds on my previous experience at BU as Public Engagement and Impact Manager/Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Manager. My passion for research and knowledge exchange stems from my time as a researcher dating back over the last decade or so. After completing a BSc in Geography from Royal Holloway, University of London, at the same institution I was awarded an ESRC CASE Studentship to explore the impacts of public space policy – co-funded by Grosvenor Estates and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This triggered my dual passions of understanding the impacts of national government policy at a localised level and how society engages within the public sphere. I was then appointed as a Research Associate at Cardiff University, first as part of the Regeneration Institute and latterly the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research (WISERD). Here I had a diverse and varied role, working on multiple research and knowledge exchange projects – often at the same time! Through funders including the ESRC and Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), I explored my passion for governance and policy through research into social housing, urban regeneration and safeguarding young people. After three years at Cardiff, I then spent the next three at University of Southampton as a Research Fellow within the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC), funded by the ESRC, Office for Civil Society and Barrow Cadbury Trust. Here, I project managed a work stream of three interrelated projects which focused around the environment and the third sector. Other interests include supporting local charities, having fun on the beach (and sometimes in the sea), walking (preferably up mountains), hanging out with my friends/family (one baby boy, one husband, one Jack Russell and two cats), experimenting with new recipes, going to gigs and trying to understand rugby.

Dr. Alison Hardy

IP & Commercialisation Manager, Liverpool John Moores University
Alison is the IP & Commercialisation Manager from Liverpool John Moores University, managing the University IP portfolio and its commercialisation across all disciplines. Alison has extensive knowledge exchange and technology transfer experience arising from time spent at a variety of University technology transfer offices, as well as gaining a good understanding of bid writing, the funding allocation process and the commercialisation of health-related technologies via her time spent as Senior Programme Manager with the i4i programme at the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research). She was awarded her degree and PhD in Chemistry from LJMU as well as holding an MBA from the Open University.

Dr. Chris Hewson

Faculty Research Impact Manager (Social Sciences), University of York
Chris studied Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge, and took his PhD in Sociology at Lancaster University. His PhD examined the development of community radio and television services in the face of social and regulatory change. Chris stepped into the newly created role of Social Sciences Research Impact Manager in March 2017, having previously worked in impact support roles at the Universities of Manchester and Salford. He can be found on Twitter as @c_d_hewson. Chris provides expert assistance to York’s social sciences departments regarding all aspects of research impact, including but not limited to funding and the REF. He also manages the Economic and Social Research Council Impact Accelerator Account (the York ESRC IAA). He is always keen to hear from organisations and groups interested in collaborating with the University’s social science researchers.

Yvonne Kinnaird

K E Policy & Outreach Manager, University of Strathclyde
Yvonne Kinnaird is the KE Policy & Outreach Manager at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Yvonne joined Research & KE Services at Strathclyde 12 years ago initially in a business development role, followed by time working on a project to encourage KE collaborations with SMEs. Yvonne now works across a range of KE projects which includes: leading the Engage with Strathclyde programme, which won THE (Times Higher Education) Leadership and Management Award for KE Initiative of the Year in 2014; and working with the CESAER (a network of Universities of Science & Technology in Europe) Task Force Innovation, and was recently involved in the production of the CESAER white paper titled: Role of Universities of Science and Technology In Innovation Ecosystems: Towards Mission 3.1 (

Peter Leather

Head of Intellectual Property & Commercialisation, University of Central Lancashire
For more than 20 years, Peter has been providing leadership in key roles in the Innovation, Research & Technology sectors at policy, strategy and operational levels. He is presently leading the delivery of UCLan`s innovation, IP and research commercialisation strategies to ensure a professional and sustainable programme. ​ He is skilled in connecting people, ideas and resources at different parts of the innovation process such as ideation, invention, industrial design, enterprise and new product development, managing IPR and commercialisation, new company formation and raising investment funds across the start-up, early stage, SME and larger company arenas. ​ Peter has an enviable network and a track record of providing professional market and client-led services to organisations vital for them to assess technology readiness. He is also skilled at applying technology and technical and commercial insight that help turn research ideas into successful products and services. His expertise is used by industry, academia, business and government. ​

Ms. Nicola McConville

Partner, Penningtons Manches LLP
Nicola is a corporate lawyer with over 20 years of focussed transactional experience. Nicola advises on all aspects of corporate law including the delivery of funding rounds and strategies for growth and realisation of value. She acts for numerous companies from early stage through to major institutional funding rounds, strategic acquisitions and exit via sale or IPO. Her clients span a range tech sectors, many of which have an international dynamic to their business. Nicola has a particular passion for advising on spin outs from universities and other institutions. She is co-head the cross practice and cross office Technology Transfer team at Penningtons Manches and recently spear headed the project with Beauhurst to produce the first report examining the spin out sector in the UK. She has advised over 75 start-ups and spin outs from Oxford University, as well as several from other institutions, from spin-out stage and through several subsequent funding rounds and exit. She provides regular training for directors of spin outs and start-ups and is responsible for designing the free series of interactive workshops run by Penningtons Manches following the journey of a spin out addressing the challenges faced by spin-outs and other early stage technology companies. Nicola comes up with with "simple but effective solutions to complex legal issues". (Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the Legal Profession 2015) “absolutely charming and very competent."(Chambers UK, 2014) "easy to work with."(Chambers UK, 2013) "Nicola is "the best person in southern England on technology and is absolutely passionate about her job," say clients. (Chambers UK, 2011) "has a palpable determination to drive change and conclude deals that is a pleasure to witness" (Chambers UK, 2010)

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.

Ms. Britta Wyatt

Managing Consultant, Oxentia Limited
Britta has a background in early-stage investment, IT systems, and innovation strategy. In 2013, she joined Oxentia’s consulting team, where she supports university, government, and private sector clients to build capacity and enable innovation for the benefit of economies and societies. At Oxentia, her role includes: 1) Commercialisation services and support for university KEC offices; 2) Training and mentoring innovators and TTOs on topics related to technology commercialisation, entrepreneurship, impact and innovation; 3) Working in partnership with organisations to design, implement, and evaluate KEC programmes and processes, through activities such as benchmarking studies, best practice reviews, innovation ecosystem reviews, impact assessments, business planning, and higher education strategy. Before joining Oxentia, Britta worked as a commercialization consultant at Ireland’s National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), an award-winning early stage investor and accelerator. Britta has a BA from Denison University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire, USA. She is Prince2 certified.