Professional Development Committee

The Professional Development Committee is responsible for the design and delivery of PraxisAuril training courses and materials. The Committee is formed of some of the most experienced senior staff from several of the leading technology/knowledge transfer organisations in the UK and experienced volunteer practitioners lead the training sessions.

Dr. Stuart Wilkinson RTTP
CEO, PraxisAuril

Stuart is the CEO of PraxisAuril. Previously he was the Assistant Director of the Innovation and Engagement team in Research Services at the University of Oxford. The Innovation and Engagement team supports, promotes and coordinates innovation, knowledge exchange and engagement activities across the University. This includes support for researchers and students and who are seeking to exploit their research and develop impact from it. Activities include
• Innovation and knowledge exchange policy, strategy and support
• Public and societal engagement with research
• Regional Engagement
• Due diligence for exploitation of research outputs and IP rights management
• Enterprise & entrepreneurship through Enterprising Oxford and was instrumental in setting up Oxford Social Enterprise Partnership (OSEP)
Stuart is also a Fellow of Reuben College, Oxford University's 39th and newest college, established in May 2019, which is dedicated to graduate study with a focus on interdisciplinary research addressing 21st century challenges.
Prior to joining Research Services Stuart worked for Oxford University Innovation (at the time known as Isis Innovation), the technology transfer company of the University Oxford in both the UK and as an overseas consultant. Stuart gained an MEng in Metallurgy and the Science of Materials prior to completing a DPhil in Biomedical Materials, both from the University of Oxford.
Stuart and has been Chair of the PraxisAuril Professional Development committee and Course Director for the New Venture Creation and Knowledge Exchange courses.

Dr. David Brownlee
Innovation Adviser, HSC Innovations

David Brownlee is the Innovation Advisor for Health and Social Care (HSC) in N. Ireland, where he heads up the HSC Innovations regional service. David graduated with First Class honours and a PhD from Queens University, Belfast in the early 90’s. After a period of Medical Research Council funded post-doctoral research, he then moved into technology transfer at the University of Southampton, subsequently consolidating these skills at the University of Ulster, prior to taking up the current position of Innovation Advisor within the N. Ireland Health Service.
Over the past 10 years in HSC, he has been responsible for amongst other things; the creation and delivery of the "Supporting Innovation in the HSC “framework project, the roll-out and adoption of the Innovation Policy for HSC, securing funding for and development of the infrastructure of HSC Innovations as a regional service; and managing and commercialising a pipeline of varied technologies in the healthcare arena.
Within the technology transfer arena David is involved in all aspects of the innovation process, as well as strategic management of technology portfolios. His interests include knowledge exchange and commercialisation (KEC), intellectual asset management, research translation, assessing value (savings) of the introduction of healthcare technologies, technology management and innovation strategy.
He has served on the Life and Health Sciences Horizon Panel of MATRIX (the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel which advises Government on the commercial exploitation of R&D and science and technology), NIHR-MRC Working Group for model agreements, Government led study to examine ways to maximise the commercial and economic Impact of the Northern Ireland publicly funded research base, steering committee of the £25k (now INVENT) Entrepreneurship competition, and on various assessment panels including Knowledge Exchange and SBRI. David is also on the professional development committee of PraxisAuril, a world leading national professional association for public sector KEC practitioners - that drives the commercialisation of academic and public sector research for social and economic impact. He represents HSC in this important area of Innovation within the healthcare environment both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Phil Elstob
Commercialisation Director, Cambridge Enterprise Ltd

Phil is Commercialisation Director at Cambridge Enterprise where he partners life sciences technologies from the University of Cambridge with industry and investors. Phil joined Cambridge Enterprise from Cancer Research UK, where he spent over fifteen years working on the identification, protection, development and commercialisation of novel cancer therapeutics, ultimately as Head of Commercial Portfolio.
Whilst at Cancer Research UK, Phil established a partnership with Newcastle University, and notably worked for both organisations to build a strategic alliance with Astex Pharmaceuticals to discover and develop new cancer drugs. Phil also spent two and a half years as Chief Executive Officer of Demuris Limited, a Newcastle University spin out company focused on antibiotic drug discovery.
He has a PhD in developmental biology from the MRC’s National Institute for Medical Research (Mill Hill) and was a delegate on the very first PraxisAuril (then PraxisUnico) course held in Bristol in November 2002.

Dr. Rich Ferrie RTTP
Chief Executive Officer, London Bioscience Innovation Centre

Dr Rich Ferrie is Director of Technology Transfer at University College Cork, having previously been Director of Operations and Head of UMIP - the technology transfer Division of UMI3 Ltd. He joined UMIP's predecessor company, MIL in 2000 after 11 years in various scientific and commercial roles with the diagnostics business of AstraZeneca culminating with leadership of its Sales and Marketing function internationally. A Biochemistry graduate (Sussex), Rich gained a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Reading. After a short period of post-doctoral research with the UK Forensic Science Service, Rich continued his work developing DNA fingerprinting technology for the Cellmark business unit of ICI Diagnostics. In 1991, Rich was appointed Technology Development Manager with responsibility for developing a platform of proprietary genetic technologies with diagnostic applications and is an inventor on 4 international patent applications. This work enabled the development of the first commercially available DNA-based cystic fibrosis diagnostic which was widely adopted. Between 1994 and 1997, Rich took a senior Business Development role developing commercial collaborations and relationships with businesses internationally, with a particular emphasis on the USA. From 1998 he established and led the Sales and Marketing department of Zeneca Diagnostics and was responsible for the inception and commercialisation of the ELUCIGENETM product range.

Mr. Paul Maclennan
Partner, Anderson Law LLP

Paul Maclennan is a solicitor and a Partner at Anderson Law LLP, a niche firm of commercial/IP solicitors based in Oxfordshire. Paul advises on a wide variety of commercial agreements focussing on transactional work within the IT, life sciences and university sectors. His clients include leading UK universities and an international IT/telecoms company. Paul is listed in Chambers & Partners as a leading UK lawyer in the field of Intellectual Property and is a contributor to a number of Anderson Law’s publications on intellectual property and commercial law, most recently Technology Transfer (3rd Ed, Bloomsbury, 2010). Paul can be reached at

Dr. Alistair McDermott
Enterprise Deputy Director, Imperial College London

Alistair McDermott is Director of Science led Services at Imperial College London where he is Executive Director of two subsidiary companies. Imperial Consultants, the commercial gateway to the academic expertise of Imperial College London, where he is responsible for increasing the number of academics undertaking consultancy projects at Imperial College whilst maintaining the university consulting service as a self-sustaining business. Imperial College Projects Limited, a company focused on developing and delivering long term commercial projects for Imperial College. He also oversees of the development and delivery of large research-based consortia projects. Alistair has worked for a number of universities and Research Councils supporting those institutions in expanding their research and commercial portfolios. He has been involved in the development of large national and international scientific research facilities and creating industry led research programmes. He has led regional businesses support initiatives, set up start-up centres and created joint ventures. Alistair has a degree and PhD in Material Science from the University of Sheffield and an MBA from the Open University.

Prof. Jennie Shorley
Director of the Centre for Enterprise, Manchester Metropolitan University

Jennie is Head of Accreditations, Head of Engaged Scholarship and Academic Impact Lead in the Faculty of Business and Law at Manchester Metropolitan University. A strategic leader in various aspects of innovation engagement, she has won £14M of funding for Manchester Met in innovation, small firm growth and research into knowledge exchange.

Under Jennie’s leadership, the Business School has achieved re-accreditation with AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA, creating the triple crown of elite global accreditations, awarded to 1% of Business Schools worldwide.

Jennie is passionate about connecting the university, research and education with society and business, as well as developing excellence and engagement in our triple accreditation portfolio. She has a national and international reputation for knowledge exchange, accreditation excellence and impact.

Jennie is also a PraxisAuril Board Member.

Jeff Skinner RTTP
Executive Director, Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, London Business School

Jeff Skinner has been in technology transfer for over 30 years, first in industry then for many years as Commercial Director of UCL where he built and ran most of the KT units (ventures, licensing, consultancy, seed fund, business development, alliances…) at the College. In 2007 he left this behind to join London Business School as the first Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital where he works with generations of MBA students, persuading them to create ventures of their own (currently about 30 a year).

He is past President of PraxisAURIL and ASTP (the European KT association) and Emeritus Member of AUTM. He designed and ran many of the Associations’ KT training courses. He was on the founding team of ATTP and Chaired its Professional Development Panel for a decade. He continues to train hundreds of KT professions each year – and several hundred more early career researchers across Europe.

Now officially retired though as busy as ever.

Gavin Smith RTTP
Director - Oxica Ltd, Praxis

Gavin Smith, now retired, was Director of Lancaster University Business Enterprises Ltd. He was responsible for commercialisation of research from all departments of Lancaster University, including evaluations, patenting, marketing, licensing, spinout company formation and also using IP to assist in winning collaborative research grants.
Gavin was an undergraduate and postgraduate at Cambridge University. After a period as a post-doctoral researcher and then travelling, he spent many years in SMEs operating in the electronics, software and banking sectors, and as an independent consultant. He has been and continues to be a director of several university and independent companies.

Mrs. Sarah Stables
Director, Stables & Co.

Knowledge Exchange Profile: For the past 15 years Sarah has worked to promote knowledge exchange between HE and industry, her work has been focused on Cumbria and as such her specialist area of understanding is the growth and development of new Universities as place based anchor institutions in rural areas. All of her industry and knowledge exchange work has involved engagement with businesses across a range of sectors, with a specific understanding of the challenges of enabling knowledge exchange in rural areas with a primarily SME business profile. European Funding has enabled much the Knowledge Exchange work, as such Sarah has experience of managing and delivering programmes of over £24M of European structural funds.

Over the past 15 years Sarah has worked with and managed teams of up to 26 Knowledge Exchange professionals and as such has a keen interest in the advancement of knowledge exchange professional development frameworks.

Sarah’s most recent role has been as Business Development and Enterprise Lead for the University of Cumbria. She has sat on many regional boards encouraging links between Universities and regional growth this includes: Cumbria LEP Technical Officers Group, the Cumbria ESIF committee and the North West Universities European Unit. Sarah was very proud to be an AURIL council member from 2015.

Sue Sundstrom RTTP
Director Sundstrom Innovation, Sundstrom Innovation Ltd

Sue joined the university sector in 2002 initially as Director, Lifescience Enterprise at the University of Southampton and now as Head of Technology Transfer at the University of Bristol, following a career with AstraZeneca.

Whilst with AstraZeneca, Sue undertook a range of commercial roles in marketing (UK and international), corporate strategy (new and existing businesses), business development and general management. As Managing Director of a French subsidiary she turned it from loss making to profit in 2 years through a rigorous prioritisation and rationalisation process. She was responsible for the sale of a subsidiary in Chile to one of its customers, negotiating a good price while protecting staff and maintaining an appropriate supply arrangement.

Dr. Josef Walker
Commercial Manager, University of Leicester

Prior to joining the University of Leicester in July 2016 as the University’s Consultancy Manager, Josef was a Senior Project Manager for six years in the Oxford University Consulting (OUC) team at Oxford University Innovation, where he led a small team managing consultancy and services in medical and life sciences from the University of Oxford. Before this. Josef worked at a consultancy firm where he spent four and a half years providing support to pharmaceutical and biotech companies engaged in deal-making. He previously obtained his PhD in Immunology from University College London and spent time in post-doctoral research.

Dr. Andrew Wray
Director of Research Impact, University of Bristol

Andrew has worked in science communication and business for 20 years, initially in academic publishing, and for the past 7 years as Knowledge Exchange Manager at the University of Bristol.
He directs the strategy and management of funds for the economic and social impact of research across all disciplines including Impact Acceleration Accounts and HEIF funds. In addition, Andrew guides academic teams in developing impact strategies for their research programmes and creating collaborative partnerships with companies, charities and government organisations.
Since 2011 he has led Bristol’s support for the AHRC funded REACT Knowledge Exchange Hub comprising 5 universities and the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. For REF 2014 he guided the impact submissions for philosophy, social policy and physics. Andrew manages the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account in Bristol and works with academics on knowledge exchange and commercialisation projects across the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Andrew sits on the Professional Development Committee for PraxisAuril.