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Simon Brown

Dr. Simon Brown’s background is as researcher / innovator in science, and he is probably best known for his developmental work in holograms for security systems such as credit cards. Despite doing a theoretical PhD (Wave Aberration Theory Analysis of Gradient Index Optics), he came to understand how research combined with an enterprising mind-set could lead to success in the market place.

A time working in commercial research was followed by a return to academia. Within a couple of years of starting as a Physics lecturer, he wrote his first (of around 20) degree programmes. Success here resulted in him leading a CETL which led him to develop and grow the internationally recognised interdisciplinary ‘Venture Matrix’ initiative at Sheffield Hallam University. He subsequently moved on to lead Southampton Solent’s Business School where he introduced and led the development of new courses such as ‘Social Entrepreneurs’ - as part of a 5 European HEI collaborative project.

Dr Brown was elected to Chair Enterprise Educators UK by membership HEIs in 2009, and he initiated an advisory role for EEUK Chairs at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and other Government departments. He subsequently contributed to the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education’s (NCEE) International Entrepreneurship Educators programme and to their international Entrepreneurial University Leaders Programme, where the students are senior academics such as Vice Chancellors and Principals of University sector organisations. He also led the Welsh Government’s review of their Enterprise Champion Programme and was a panel member for the HEIF4 funding review in England.

Dr Simon Brown has contributed to many international conferences and keynoted at the prestigious International Entrepreneurship Educator’s Conference. Current projects include taking a leading role at SETsquared; a collaboration between Bath, Bristol, Exeter Southampton and Surrey Universities, where he has developed and delivers the acclaimed ‘Researcher to Innovator’ programme. SETsquared are currently the number 1 researcher-based incubator in Europe, and their success led to HEFCE and Innovate UK funding for ICURe, a sector leading post-graduate accelerator programme.

 
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Julia Brown

A teacher since 1982. IN that time Julia has taught at every level of Primary education from reception and nursery to level 6. She has been a subject leader, a special needs coordinator, a middle leader, a deputy head, a head (of a small school and a big school), a local leader in education, and a consultant for Edison Learning delivering the Aspire development programme for schools and leaders of schools.

Julia is a passionate advocate for the learners and while a school leader she ensured every child would be encouraged, supported and challenged to be the “best that they could be”. She worked with the community and parents to ensure excellence was at the heart of the school. Success in academic, social and sporting areas became the measure of her schools. 

While this slipped under the radar of most news outlets, the Greenhill Gizmos showed what a state primary school could achieve if supported.

Read more about the success of the project here.

Working for Edison Learning, Julia helped schools that were judged by OFSTED as requiring improvement to progress to good.

Julia takes a lifetime of experience in Primary education into her new role as a independent consultant.

 
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Alan Scrase

Having been working in Higher Education technology transfer and business incubation roles since 2007 I am a passionate believer that we have some of the best research and researchers in the world. What I am also passionate about is helping them to get all their hard work recognised and out to the “customers” that it can best benefit. 

In 2012 I helped create a programme that was targeted at PhD and Early Post Docs which was designed to introduce them to business models concepts and customer discovery. This was the SETsquared “Researcher to Innovator” programme. Over 100 attended that programme but it showed a need for a “next level” version to be created.

What we discovered and learnt from running that programme was then used when I was asked by the Director of Research and Innovation Service at University of Southampton, in late 2014, to help conceive and bid for funding to create the award winning Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme. 

ICURe is about taking the research out of the lab and asking the market if they want to buy it? If they do how many do they want and for how much? The programme builds skills, knowledge and confidence so that the person who is really passionate about the science can speak to those that might want to pay for the benefits it can provide.  ICURe is the only jointly funded programme between HEFCE and Innovate UK. Originally a one year pilot, it has twice been extended by BEIS to continue to test the model, firstly to engage a wider group of universities and secondly to test delivery via two additional nodes. By focusing upon proving the market need we have been able to create market led not research led opportunities.

Over 174 teams have completed the programme, from more than 34 HEIs. £38m of grant and equity funding has been raised and 54 companies created.  The experience I have gained by supporting the teams and their respective technology transfer staff has enabled me to understand the numerous commercialisation options and routes available. 

As a SETsquared centre manager since 2012 I have helped members secure over £7m of grant and equity funding to enable them to deliver growth and innovation. I have worked with the wide range of members to understand their needs and wants to ensure we have the right strategy, company structure and plans to create a business that can and does attract funding. Over 90 jobs have been created many recruited from the university. Funding has been sourced from EU, Innovate UK, private investors and VC’s. 

For five years I was the  Director and Chief Technology Officer for a privately funded High Technology Start up so understand the needs and challenges of taking technology to the market place. This means I am well placed to look at many creative solutions for accessing and aligning the resources needed to take lower TRL research into the market place.