Royal Society announces 2022 Entrepreneur in Residence recipients

07 March 2023

Twenty entrepreneurs, senior scientists and business leaders from across 19 universities and institutions, have been awarded a place on the Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence scheme for 2022. 

The Entrepreneurs join a growing network in universities and research institutes across the UK, helping translate cutting-edge research into industrial success. Alongside their host institution, the award holders will develop projects that build the entrepreneurial skills of staff and students, as well as their understanding of the scientific challenges being tackled in the innovation sector. 

Through the scheme, Entrepreneurs in Residence are funded to spend one day a week with the partner institution. The scheme has funded 101 placements in 46 universities across the UK since it was established in 2018.

The full list of the newly awarded Entrepreneurs in Residence and their projects:

Dr Rolf Baxter, Venture Base, University of Edinburgh

Rolf Baxter is developing ‘From Lab to Start-up: A crash course’, within the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. His aim is simple: to encourage more early career researchers to create companies. The project will mentor PhD students and early career researchers in product development and company creation and show how entrepreneurial skills can be developed within the university environment. It will blend targeted learning with informative and inspirational stories from entrepreneurs to encourage more researchers to take the plunge. 

Nav Dean, Ruff, University of Oxford

The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division (MPLS) in Oxford consists of nine academic departments, Begbroke Science Park and the Doctoral Training Centre. Its successful spin-outs include NaturalMotion Games, Oxford Nanopore Technologies and YASA Motors. Nav Dean will drive further growth and innovation in MPLS by leveraging his 25 years of industry experience in advising, building and scaling disruptive tech startups. He will provide hands-on guidance to help academics commercialise their cutting-edge research, form industry partnerships and secure capital, to develop the next generation of technology entrepreneurs.

Dr Adam Glen, Unicorn Biotechnologies, University of Sheffield

Dr Adam Glen is co-CEO of Unicorn Biotechnologies (UB), an independent founder-led startup biotechnology company. UB went from an attic lab, building prototypes in spare bedrooms during a pandemic lockdown, to a $3.2 million seed raise, a 10-person organisation, and a new multifunctional cell biology lab and engineering space built from scratch in a little over 18 months. Dr Glen will be working to support biotechnology entrepreneurship at the University of Sheffield and beyond. 

Victoria Hamilton, Recoil Knee Pads, University of Strathclyde

Vicky Hamilton is the founder of Glasgow-based business, Recoil Knee Pads. Originally a student project at the University of Strathclyde in 2013, Vicky successfully turned her idea into an internationally operating business after she graduated. Recoil now provides knee protectors using a patented spring system to the manual trades and construction industry, offering a more comfortable and protective kneeling aid to those most at risk of work-related knee injuries and pain. Her award will be used to mentor students and academics looking to commercialise their research/projects, and to inspire others into the world of entrepreneurship through organized events, prototyping support and network introductions.

Dr Tim Hammonds, Consultant to Early Drug Discovery and Start-up Biotech, University of Leicester

Working directly with academics in the College of Life Sciences at University of Leicester, Tim will focus on increasing the understanding of translational research management. The ultimate goal is to accelerate the commercialisation of new and existing research across the University and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust via additional partnerships with venture capital and the Biopharma/Biotech industry. Importantly, they will also build a legacy syllabus of entrepreneurial training and commercial skills for future University staff and particularly early career researchers.

Dr Joe Handsaker, Handsaker Innovation, Sheffield Hallam University

Joe will be working with the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University to create an accessible pathway for staff and students in Sport, Health and Wellbeing to create new spin-outs and startups to commercialise their ideas and discoveries. 

Professor John Innes, John Innes Consulting, Edinburgh Napier University

John brings over 35 years of industrial and commercial experience from the defence, aerospace and space sectors and will be working within the School of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (SCEBE) to provide mentoring and support to academics to identify applied research programmes with commercial potential and develop plans and roadmaps to support commercialisation.

Dr Soraya Jones, SorayaJones&Co, University of East Anglia (UEA)

The Faculty of Science at UEA promotes innovation and excellence in research. Soraya Jones aims to support the students and academics within the faculty by enhancing their knowledge of entrepreneurship, giving them a greater awareness of the commercialisation process and how to be more engaged with the business and investor communities.

Dr Ewan Kirk, University of Cambridge

Dr Ewan Kirk is a technology entrepreneur, early-stage investor and the Founder of Cantab Capital Partners. For over 30 years, he has been involved in a number of ventures to commercialise, apply and leverage technology, science and mathematics research in business, philanthropy and academia. He is the Chairman of DeepTech Labs, a Cambridge-based accelerator focused on building deep technology companies and in recent years has invested in a number of technology startups in the UK. He was appointed Non-Executive Director of BAE Systems plc in June 2021. Prior to founding Cantab, he was a Partner at Goldman Sachs managing over 120 mathematicians, computer scientists and statisticians. 

Dr Salman Malik, Asina, University of the West of Scotland

Salman Malik is a scientist turned entrepreneur and CEO. Salman will join the University of the West of Scotland (London Campus) to develop a long-lasting legacy of enterprise and the commercialisation of research that can support the socio-economic development of the community. This will be achieved through Enterprise Education, building the mentor network (of the University) and working closely with local businesses to build a collaborative connection with spin-outs and student enterprise.

Dr Fiona Marston, RFM Associates, University of Reading 

Fiona will work with the University of Reading to assess, focus and accelerate the commercialisation of their collaborative innovative research outputs with the NHS. The University of Reading collaborates with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Fiona will work with the School of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences and the HIP programme to harness untapped potential within the Schools and partnership to create a pipeline of projects for commercial development and adoption by the NHS. 

Dr Miguel Martinez, Practical Academic Consulting, University of Essex 

Miguel Martinez is a startup advisor and angel investor, as well as the Co-Founder of Signal AI, a fast growing AI company enabling better decision making by analysing, in real-time, millions of external articles (eg news, broadcasts, legislation). Signal AI has grown from three to 200 people and has raised more than $100 million. The main goal of this program will be to ensure academics and students at the University of Essex have enough knowledge in all the critical aspects of running a startup, as well as the ability to dive deeper into specific areas in the future.

Dr Tajinder Mattu, Dokimazo, University of Bristol

Dr Taj S Mattu has been awarded an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Bristol. The two-year project is titled “Bridging the gap: Creation of sustainable development models for translation of Diagnostics, Devices and Medtech innovations”. The project will assess and identify the support required for opportunities in Medtech and related areas, deliver development and funding roadmaps, and identify suitable mentors to help drive opportunities and up the technology readiness level, while aligning with industry requirements. 

Suzanne Meenan, Suzanne Meenan Consulting, University of Hertfordshire

Working with the Enterprise and Business team, Suzanne will be using her experience and networks from across R&D and commercial roles in industry, to bring together researchers from the departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Healthcare and Digital Technologies. As well as encouraging collaboration in the development and commercialisation of new innovations, they will also be supporting local BioTech and MedTech start-ups through a dedicated accelerator programme.

Patrick O’Conell, Helliers, Exeter University

Exeter University and its engineering department has developed an excellent entrepreneurial course over the past few years. This project will focus on supporting Masters students to take academic study into real world startup businesses. With a background in Servitisation, The Circular Economy and Digitalisation, Patrick will be able to share his expertise to build a lasting entrepreneurial culture and commercial mindset.

Nanik Ramchandani, Imagine Ventures Ltd, Edinburgh Napier University (ENU)

Nanik is the co-founder of Imagine Ventures, an idea to commercialise consulting business for startups and university spin-outs that imagine a better world. Nanik brings over 20 years' experience in financial markets to the School of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at ENU. His project is focused on solving challenges in the world of finance and sustainability using secure privacy preserving technologies. 

Dr Alex Reip, Oxford nanoSystems, Brunel University

Alex Reip returns to Brunel University to further support the university's new hydrogen initiative, Brunel Hydrogen, which he helped establish as a Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence back in 2020. His aim is to promote the university's hydrogen strategy by building partnerships and strengthening external engagement across four pathways: research, commercialisation, living lab and education. He will also be developing a hydrogen incubator to scale up companies involved in the hydrogen ecosystem, and collaborating with the Business Development team to create a parallel commercialisation approach that ensures industrial funding is ready when the research matures.

Dr Christine Reynet, McC+R&D Consulting Ltd, University of Aberdeen

Dr Christine Reynet will join the Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, to encourage academic scientists to gain a deeper understanding of translational research and drug discovery processes and guide them through the multi-disciplinary approach required to identify and develop competitive and entrepreneurial translational research projects.

Stephen Roe, OGI Bio, University of Edinburgh

Having studied Physics at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1974, Stephen Roe started his career with a summer at CERN working on the Intersecting Storage Rings. He has since worked in multiple industries including medical devices, steel, computers, semiconductors, food and drink, aerospace and instrumentation. His work as Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence at the School of Physics and Astronomy will focus on improving the impact of research and helping to create more spin-outs and startups.

Martin Whitaker, WF Zero, University of Nottingham

Martin has over 20 years’ experience working in the pharmaceutical industry, and two of his products have been approved worldwide for the treatment of rare diseases of cortisol deficiency. Prior to this, Martin was Operations Director of Critical Pharmaceuticals Limited, a venture capital-backed drug delivery company spun out of the University of Nottingham developing long-acting growth hormone products.