New PraxisUnico Chair announced at AGM: Report

At the PraxisUnico AGM on June 12 2015, Dr Sue O'Hare, RTTP and Managing Director, Kew Consultancy Services, handed over the Chair of PraxisUnico to Dr Angela Kukula, RTTP and Director of Enterprise at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. Angela has been on the Board of PraxisUnico for the last two years as Conference Committee Chair and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to now head up the Board of PraxisUnico.

Also at the AGM, Maxine Ficarra, Executive Director at PraxisUnico noted that the Board has begun an annual strategic review process to ensure forward focus on developing, promoting and connecting the KEC profession.

PraxisUnico aims to do this nationally and internationally with fellow KEC professionals and associations, with business and with key stakeholders and government. PraxisUnico wants to be recognised as one of the world's leading national, professional associations for KEC practitioners. It works to ensure that its members are among the most highly-skilled, best informed, forward-thinking and well-connected network of expert KEC practitioners anywhere in the world and that the importance of KEC activity is evidenced, understood and valued by key stakeholders.

In 2014-2015, 173 institutions joined PraxisUnico - 98 universities, 30 corporate organisations, 45 other organisations and individuals including PSREs, charities, research councils, NHS, Catapults.

Increasing numbers of new members joined from overseas, as PraxisUnico's international training activity expands, with a warm welcome extended to several new Irish institutions who have joined the network this year.

PraxisUnico's contact network (UK and international) reaches just over 5,100 individuals and to date 3328 individuals have been trained.

PraxisUnico continues to build on its reputation as a knowledgeable and representative information source for key stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement remains an integral part of PraxisUnico's service to represent members wherever and whenever possible, collaborating in early stage discussions/forums and providing considered and timely responses to government and stakeholder consultations.

This year this has included:
- Scottish Funding Council enquiry "Intellectual Assets at the university-business interface: seizing the opportunity" (Oct 2014). Joint response with AURIL.
- Dowling Review of Business-University Collaboration, March 2015. PraxisUnico also took the initiative to partner with the RAEng's review team on an 'intermediaries' face-to-face workshop, held alongside the Directors' Forum.
- The Nurse Review of RCUK

PraxisUnico has actively engaged key stakeholders in joint projects e.g.:
- NCUB / IP Pragmatics on EasyAccess IP review
- Working with UUK on KE Factsheet (pending)
- With HEFCE on "UK TTOs" piece and KE Framework and of course
- With RCUK on joint Impact Awards this year

It has supported work in key areas such as Proof of Concept Funding review (Innovate UK/IP Pragmatics), State Aid (with AURIL), and Lambert working group (IPO, ongoing). PraxisUnico is also collaborating with AURIL to jointly represent the UK at an EU level via the National Associations Advisory Committee, led by ASTP-Proton.

The Training Committee has introduced new training course curricula and an expanded UK training schedule is now on offer. A forward schedule will be published which will enable customers to plan further ahead for their career development needs.

An online webcast has been piloted as a potential future channel to supplement the existing training offering. PraxisUnico continues to closely monitor delegate feedback to track customer satisfaction levels and a consistent demand for entry level training courses has been demonstrated. Market research will be conducted in 2015 to ensure that the PraxisUnico training programme continues to anticipate future market requirements.

A new International Director was appointed in the summer of 2014 to develop a self-sustainable PraxisUnico training offering internationally. Good progress is being made with training courses delivered in Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Portugal this year and a series of events upcoming in China.

PraxisUnico is a founding association of ATTP and has invested finance and volunteer time to ensure that PraxisUnico members continue to play a key role in shaping global professional standards in Knowledge Exchange and Research Commercialisation. ATTP continues to expand - new associations have joined the founding members [PraxisUnico (UK), AUTM (USA), ASTP-Proton (EU), KCA (Australasia)] - from Japan (UNITT), South Africa (SARIMA), Sweden (SNITTS), Germany (Tech Allianz) and most recently USIMP (Turkey). This is a truly global network and PraxisUnico is encouraging all practitioners to apply and demonstrate their commitment to continuing professional development.

The full minutes from the AGM will be circulated in due course.