Professional Development Committee

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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.

The PraxisAuril office contact for the Training Committee team is Georgina Wark.

Sue Sundstrom RTTP

Acting co-director of RED & Interim Director of Enterprise, University of Bristol
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. Iain Thomas RTTP

Board Member
Head of Life Sciences, Cambridge Enterprise Ltd
Iain is Head of Cambridge Enterprise’s Life Sciences team at the University of Cambridge where he and his team work in fields as diverse as therapeutics, diagnostics, biofuels, IVF, epigenetics and agritech. CE’s portfolio of products includes alemtuzumab (Sanofi), breast cancer markers (Brevagen) and mouse touch screen chambers (Campden Instruments). Recent spin-outs include Morphogenix, Mission Therapeutics, Cambridge Epigenetix, XO1 Therapeutics (sold to Janssen), Z-factor, Phoremost, and Storm Therapeutics. Iain led discussions with GSK in respect of the University of Cambridge–GSK open innovation drug discovery initiative based at the SBC and was the Cambridge lead for the Apollo Therapeutics Fund. Iain has been an active trainer for Praxis Courses since 2004.

Mrs. Jennie Shorley

Board Member
Associate Head - RKE, Manchester Metropolitan University
Jennie joined the Centre for Enterprise in July 2010. As Head of Bids and Partnerships Jennie has led the bids team to secure £3M of funding for business growth and innovation support for small firms, as well as successful research council bids to the ESRC, AHRC and EPSRC. As a senior member of the management team she represents MMU and the Centre for Enterprise throughout the UK and Europe. Jennie led the award-winning £2.5M ERDF-funded Knowledge Action Network project across the North West. This flagship project worked with 214 small companies across the North West, supporting these firms to create 71 and safeguard 61 jobs. Jennie leads partnerships across Europe for the Centre for Enterprise, including heading the £0.5M Leonardo Transfer of Innovation Programme with 10 EU business and university partners. She currently leads MMU’s involvement in 3 Erasmus+ programmes. She has strong university and business connections in Croatia, France, Poland, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands and Germany.

Dr. Alistair McDermott

Board Member
Director of Science Led Services, Imperial College London
Alistair McDermott is CEO of 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. 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.

Sean Fielding RTTP

Vice Chair
Director of Innovation, Impact & Business, University of Exeter
Sean Fielding / Director of Innovation Impact and Business, University of Exeter Sean’s team handles the University of Exeter's support for collaboration with external partners whether for research, education or commercial business such as spin-outs and licensing. He is also responsible for strategic alliances, regional economic development and the generation of impact from the University’s research. Sean is chair of the SETsquared Management Board. He is a former member of the Board of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and the European Association for Knowledge Transfer. He is a Director for The Exeter Science Park.

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

Director of Technology Transfer, University College Cork
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.

Adam Irvine

Consultant, Carlton Hill Ltd
Until August 2016, Adam was the Business Development Executive for the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. His role was to support the university strategy in developing collaboration and enterprise opportunities to maximise the impact of university research. Adam joined Edinburgh Research & Innovation Ltd in 2014 from the University of Southampton where he had spent four years in a similar role gaining broad exposure to contract management, business development and technology transfer activities. He has worked on a range of projects across Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Medicine and Ocean & Earth Sciences. Previously Adam worked for a financial services headhunting firm in the City of London, managing hiring projects across capital markets, corporate finance and private equity. He started his career as an accountant with Deloitte and Touche in London working with technology, media and telecommunications clients. Adam has a Masters degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and is a member of the PraxisAuril Professional Development Committee.

Sue Johnson

Consultancy Manager, University of East Anglia
Sue Johnson is the Consultancy Manager at The University of East Anglia in Norwich. She is responsible for the management of the consultancy office and is a Director of UEA Consulting Ltd. Sue joined Research and Business Services at The University of East Anglia (UEA) in her current role in 2005. Her background is in plant molecular biology having previously worked at the John Innes Centre. After moving to The School of Biological Sciences at UEA she completed an MBA at the Norwich Business School which led to her move to the Technology Transfer and Commercialisation Group. Since becoming Consultancy Manager she has seen the business grow considerably and has overseen the formation of a number of successful consultancy clusters including Health Economics Consulting and Virtual Past. She is currently working with the LEP to deliver an Innovation Voucher Scheme, as part of the Regional Growth Fund, offering match funding to smes wishing to access university expertise.

Mr. Paul Maclennan

Partner / Solicitor, 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 paul@andlaw.eu

Jeff Skinner RTTP

Executive Director, Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, London Business School
Jeff is the Executive Director of the Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at London Business School. He also directs a variety of MBA entrepreneurship electives and co-curricular student activities at the School. Prior to this, as Commercial Director at University College London, he conceived, built and ran UCL‚ Technology Transfer division - including the creation of two early-stage seed funds and separate units managing consultancy, collaborative research and new venture creation. Working alongside research students and academics, he has co-founded over thirty technology-based spinouts that have, in aggregate, raised over £30 million first round finance and returned over £20 million to UCL. He is past President of and remains closely involved with the leading UK & European tech transfer associations, PraxisUnico & ASTP-Proton. He talks, trains and consults widely throughout Europe in the field of technology commercialization. He chairs the Professional Recognition panel for the worldwide "Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals" (ATTP). Before joining UCL, he was Technical Marketing Manager at Hoechst Celanese Corporation in New Jersey and prior to that, Photonics Research Manager at General Electric. His first degree was in physics and he holds a Ph.D. in thin-film photonics (UCL) and an MBA from London Business School.

Gavin Smith

Director - IP Development (Lancaster University, retired)
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.

Sarah Stables

Director, Sarah Stables Consulting
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.

Dr. Stuart Wilkinson

Head, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team, University of Oxford
Stuart Wilkinson is Head of the Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team in the Research Services office of the University of Oxford. Stuart's current role is to support the University's engagement and partnership with external organisations across the institution to maximise the impact of the research, including regional partners including the LEP. Previously Stuart worked as a consultant advising and training governments, companies and research organisations on technology development, intellectual property discovery, commercialisation strategy and business planning. Stuart also worked for Isis Innovation where he was responsible for evaluating, protecting and commercialising intellectual property in materials, engineering, energy and imaging technologies, including developing translational funding applications, business plans and negotiating investment for spin-out businesses. Stuart has a DPhil and MEng in BioMaterials and Materials Science from the University of Oxford.