Winners of the PraxisAuril KE Awards 2021 Announced

Winners of this year’s PraxisAuril KE Awards have been announced across six categories, recognising the achievements in knowledge exchange of both individuals and teams across the UK and internationally. The Awards were once again sponsored by UKRI, the UK’s research and innovation funding body.

The online awards ceremony held on 18th November 2021 was hosted by PraxisAuril Chair, Iain Thomas (Cambridge Enterprise); CEO, Maxine Ficarra; Founder & Patron, David Secher and UKRI’s Director of Commercialisation, Tony Soteriou.

The awards received over 60 entries following the competition’s launch at PraxisAuril’s annual conference held online in June this year. Our judging panel then had the exciting but challenging task of selecting 17 finalists across six categories.


Winners in each of the categories are:

KE Partnership of the Year – Presented by David Secher; PraxisAuril Founder & Patron

  • SUNRISE – Swansea University

Academic Engagement of the Year – Presented by Gurmit Kler; University of Birmingham, Director of Business Engagement

  • Turing Data Study Groups – The Alan Turing Institute

KE Deal of the Year – Presented by David Bembo; Cardiff University, Director, Research and Innovation Services

  • Apollo Therapeutics:  Attracting major investment to empower a unique, multi-university portfolio-based biopharmaceuticals venture - UCL Business and on behalf of Imperial College London and University of Cambridge

KE Team of the Year – Presented by Simon Bond; SETsquared Partnership, Innovation Director

  • Virtual Forum for Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences - KTN / ICMS / INI / Newton Gateway

Place-Based Initiative of the Year – Presented by Fariba Soetan; The National Centre for Universities and Business, Policy Lead, Research and Innovation

  • Space Park Leicester - University of Leicester

Pandemic Pivot of the Year – Presented by Alex Chaix, UK Research and Innovation, Head of Commercialisation

  • Testing Times at University of Exeter – University of Exeter


Highlighting and improving Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in knowledge exchange is a top priority for PraxisAuril, and as such, entrants were encouraged to highlight in their submissions where inclusive approaches contributed to the success of their project. Maxine Ficarra led a short discussion with judges Gurmit Kler, David Bembo and Fariba Soetan about entries with strong examples of EDI, the challenges the KE sector faces in relation to EDI and how we can collectively share best practice.

In contrast to previous KE Awards, the judges this year agreed that awarding a single ‘Volunteer of the year’ was not possible. The pandemic brought challenges to everyone, but the PraxisAuril volunteers out-did themselves in their dedication, innovation and perseverance; transforming PraxisAuril’s face-to-face training into a digital experience, developing and delivering a brand-new programme to develop and connect delegates. Iain Thomas expressed wholehearted thanks on behalf of the PraxisAuril Exec Team and Board to all our volunteers.

Maxine Ficarra closed the ceremony with a particular thank you to our KE Awards sponsor, UK Research and Innovation, without whom the awards would not be possible. She also offered a thank you to all those who took the time to enter the KE Awards this year, adding…

We plan to continue to shine a spotlight on your success and will be working hard next year to incorporate as many examples of KE excellence as we can from across all entries into our best practice learning communities

Thank you to our volunteer Judging Panel; David Secher, Gurmit Kler, David Bembo, Simon Bond, Fariba Soetan, Alex Chaix.


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