A champion for UK innovation awarded MBE

Lita Nelsen, Director of the Technology Licensing Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), receives this award in recognition of her work in innovation and technology/knowledge transfer.  Ms Nelsen has been instrumental in shaping the UK’s technology transfer landscape.

On receiving the award, Ms Nelsen said, “I am deeply honoured personally, but even more importantly, I believe this award shows recognition of the importance of technology transfer from universities to the British economy and society.   I am also enormously grateful to my colleagues in Praxis who have allowed me to join with them in the wonderful adventure of building Praxis.”

Ms Nelsen co-founded Praxis Courses Ltd, the not-for-profit UK technology transfer programme, in 2002, with Professor David Secher, then Director of Research Services at Cambridge University.  Praxis has played a key role in shifting the culture of UK universities towards commercialisation.  The implementation of the Praxis course programme addressed a critical gap in the sector’s skill base and Praxis now enables technology/knowledge transfer professionals to maximise the impact of UK research for the benefit of society and to strengthen the economy.

Professor Secher received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion 2007 for his work with Praxis.  The award recognised his leadership role in advancing enterprise in the UK and improving the UK innovation and knowledge transfer sector. 

Professor Secher added, “We at Praxis are all delighted by this fitting recognition of Lita’s enormous contributions to Praxis and to the UK economy.  In 2009, only seven people world-wide have been accorded this honour and we believe that this is the first time ever that a foreign national working in the field of technology transfer has been honoured by the Queen in this way.  It has been a privilege to work closely with Lita for the past nine years and we are fortunate that Lita continues to serve as a director of Praxis.”

Since its inception, Praxis has trained nearly 1800 commercialisation professionals in the UK and overseas and its courses are now recognised as standard training for knowledge transfer staff.  Praxis is led by an expert volunteer committee of knowledge transfer professionals, drawn from the UK’s leading universities, business and funding agencies.

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Notes to Editors

1.  About Ms Lita Nelsen

Prior to joining the M.I.T. Technology Licensing Office, Ms. Nelsen spent 20 years in industry, primarily in the fields of membrane separations, medical devices, and biotechnology, at such companies as Amicon, Millipore, Arthur D. Little, Inc., and Applied Biotechnology. Ms. Nelsen was the 1992 President of the Association of University Technology Managers and serves on the boards of directors of the State of Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the Mount Auburn Hospital, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Foundation. She has served as advisor to the NIH, the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of Technology Assessment, and currently serves as the intellectual property advisor to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and is a founding board member of the Center for Management of Intellectual Property in Health Research for developing countries (MIHR).

2.  Honorary Awards

- The UK honours system recognises exceptional achievement and service to the nation.  There are several different types of award, each one recognising a different type of contribution.  All British honours are awarded on merit.

- Honorary awards to foreign nationals are published on the FCO website, which lists awards formally approved by The Queen between January and December each year.  For further information, http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-the-fco/what-we-do/honours/honorary-awards-2009