Royal Society announces latest Entrepreneur in Residence recipients

27 February 2024

The Royal Society has announced the latest recipients of its annual Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) awards.

Fifteen entrepreneurs, senior scientists and business leaders from 14 universities and institutions, were selected for this year’s scheme. They will help researchers translate cutting-edge research into industrial success across a variety of topics including engineering, mental health, AI, aircraft technologies, medical science, crop protection, water waste and infectious diseases.

The EiRs, who all begin their two-year placements between January and March this year, join a growing network in the UK. The scheme, which has funded 116 placements in 61 academic institutions since it launched in 2018, aims to increase the knowledge and awareness in UK universities of cutting-edge industrial science, research and innovation.

Alongside their host institution, the EiR will also be responsible for developing projects that build the entrepreneurial skills of staff and students, as well as their understanding of specific challenges in the innovation sector.

The full list of newly awarded EiRs:

Jon Brigg, Stoic Options Ltd, University of York

Jon is an independent provider of support, challenge and options to supply chain, academia and industry in the water, waste and agriculture sectors. His focus is to create and realise value from innovation. A 30-year water sector career culminated as Head of Innovation at Yorkshire Water, creating and delivering disruptive, transformational initiatives. A key feature was relationship and value creation links between academia and industry. Amongst a diverse portfolio, Jon’s business is integrating emerging technologies into the agri-sector with government support.

Lynne Cadenhead, Cadenhead & Co Consulting, Edinburgh Napier University

Lynne is an entrepreneur and early-stage business angel investor with a background in life sciences. A gender specialist and passionate global advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, Lynne is also Chair of Women’s Enterprise Scotland and has served on over 30 boards. Lynne will develop a gender-appropriate entrepreneurial mindset across the University, normalising an entrepreneurial culture and helping to establish more IP-rich spinouts led or co-led by women entrepreneurs. A gender framework will also be developed to help more institutions achieve gender balance in commercialisation. 

Diana Gormley, Danu Continuous Improvement, Robert Gordon University

Diana is the founder of Danu Continuous Improvement, offering training and consultancy in Lean manufacturing and continuous improvement, with an emphasis on implementing positive cultural change. She will work with Robert Gordon University to embed a sustainability and entrepreneurial mindset and drive a positive cultural change within the STEM schools in the university. The project will support the development and delivery of new ‘Innovation and Sustainability’ modules, which will introduce the students to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Oliver Harrison, Koa Health Digital Solutions, University of Oxford

Oliver will be working with Oxford University, local NHS Trusts, and a network of stakeholders to advance the development and commercialisation of AI technologies in healthcare. Working in NHS psychiatry, Oliver saw that technology could help open-up access to mental health services. To learn how health technology is built and deployed, he spent five years in the McKinsey Health Tech Practice. In 2006, he was recruited to help modernise healthcare in Abu Dhabi over a seven-year period as Director of Public Health, during which time he used data to tackle population health challenges from diabetes to road accidents and infectious disease. Today, he is Founder-CEO of Koa Health, a UK company delivering high-tech, high-touch mental health services using evidence-based technology for both navigation and therapy to more than five million people worldwide.

Dr Louise Jopling, Health Innovation East, Babraham Institute

Louise is Commercial Director at Health Innovation East supporting entrepreneurs and industry partners develop their products and services for implementation within the NHS and other healthcare systems. Louise has more than 25 years’ experience in drug discovery, development and commercialisation within academia, biotech and pharmaceutical organisations. This two-year project will work closely with the Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation team at the Babraham Institute to ‘accelerate fundamental life science research for talent development, population health benefit and wealth creation’.  

Dr David Kennard, Cres Associates Ltd, MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences

Dr Kennard has worked across all aspects of pharmaceutical development, from university start-up to ‘big pharma’, and from academic/third sector to commercial, providing advice and guidance between disciplines. His new role as Royal Society EiR for LMS involves the identification and exploitation of translational opportunities to enable the delivery of the new LMS team science strategy and will involve integrating transdisciplinary scientific research, enterprise training, and innovation plans both within LMS and through external collaboration.

Richard Male, Next Venture Studio, University of the West of England, Bristol

An investment professional with over 15 years of experience in early-stage (pre-seed to series A) technology commercialisation and investments. A founder and co-founder of technology businesses, his current activity spans mobility and transportation, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, education and regulatory technology. This project will look to increase the commercialisation activity at BRL with a specific focus on industry 5.0 - hardware, software and humans working in concert for economic and societal benefit.

Dr Rudy Maor, OneFarm Ltd, John Innes Centre

Rudy Maor is an experienced entrepreneur, with a successful track record of commercialising technologies from academia. Rudy will work with researchers and the business development team at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, to commercialise a novel platform technology, named RNA-Shield. The project will primarily focus on developing sustainable crop-protection solutions against critical viral diseases in plants. Many of these diseases currently have no viable treatment and can pose a serious threat to supply chains and food security.

Paul May, Axonica, Imperial College

The Department of Physics at Imperial College is pushing to further increase its commercial impacts. Technology translation from physics departments is notoriously difficult, but its potential is extremely high. Paul has been involved as a founder/CEO with several deep-tech businesses spun-out from physics departments and where the interplay between science and business has been critical to commercialisation success. This project is an exciting opportunity to provide a programme of activities that leverages his experience in deep tech commercialisation and to thus address this challenging translation issue.

Dr Helen Meese, The Care Machine, Durham University

Helen is an award-winning chartered mechanical engineer and CEO of The Care Machine, a consultancy that works with early-stage innovators to develop medical technology and services. Helen is an accomplished public affairs and policy specialist, providing thought leadership to government, industry, and the public sector on engineering and its contribution to health and care. Her ‘Engineering the Future of Healthcare’ project will focus on introducing and broadening the knowledge of staff and students across Durham University to the global challenges facing the healthcare sector; providing insight into the need for effective and thoughtful solutions to ensure care and technology are accessible to all.

Dr Christopher Morton, Capdea, University of Oxford

Chris Morton will be supporting entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford, working with the Engineering Department and Zero-carbon Energy Research Oxford. In parallel, he also advises climate companies including Clarity AI, Granular Energy and Supercritical. Prior to that, he was founder/CEO of Lyst, was an independent board director at Depop from Series B to sale to Etsy for $1.65bn, and before that was a venture investor at Balderton Capital. 

Dr Sasha Siegel, Healthwave Digital Solutions, University of Bristol

Dr Sasha V. Siegel is an infectious disease expert, executive VP in the biotech sector, and founder of Healthwave Digital Innovations, with a career focus on data-driven translational science. As an advisor to the University of Bristol’s Division of Research, Enterprise and Innovation, Dr Siegel seeks to bridge gaps in translation within the university ecosystem by championing strategic investments in technology infrastructure, projects, and people – accelerating the development of transformative digital health products. 

Professor Tom Stephenson, Selgevesi, City University London

Tom has broad experience of exploiting IP and helping start-ups in a previous role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Innovation at Cranfield University from 2013 to 2021. He has raised money for his own spin out, Water Innovate Ltd, eventually selling to London-based Bluewater Bio. Currently he is an advisor to a net zero start-up, Bluemethane. Tom will be working with staff and students in the School of Science and Technology at City to commercialise their ideas.   

Dr Millicent Stone, iOWNA, University of Bath

Dr Stone is a Consultant Rheumatologist, founder of iOWNA, a healthtech venture. She worked at University of Toronto as Clinician Scientist, Clinical Epidemiologist before completing a Masters in Entrepreneurship Degree at Cambridge University. She is joining University of Bath, Centre of Therapeutic Innovation as visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship during her Royal Society Fellowship to mentor colleagues and will build out a digital tool to facilitate better communication between researchers to enable more efficient new molecule discoveries.

Scott A Vaughan, HyperionWorks, Wrexham Glyndwr University

As part of his EiR role, Professor Vaughan will work alongside students, staff and industry partners to develop a range of activities and initiatives aimed at providing innovation enablers and inspiration to the entire university community. These initiatives will include workshops, masterclasses, simulations, and podcasts. He will also focus on bringing about developments in the disciplines of entrepreneurship and innovation within Wrexham University’s new flagship Enterprise, Engineering and Optics Centre. Scott will bring his significant experience in establishing and sustaining both large businesses and start-ups, particularly in the areas of novel aircraft technologies, simulation, remotely piloted air systems and sustainable aerospace solutions to bear during his tenure.