Proximity To Discovery

NU Innovates

With the increasing emphasis from our funders on partnering with industry and ensuring socio-economic impact from our outputs, the faculty is keen to support our researchers in achieving these goals and enriching their research through a program of events and seminars under the banner “NU Innovates”. NU Innovates will provide inspiration, knowledge and connections for researchers who wish to better understand how to work with industry and commercialise their inventions.

The NU Innovates program is supported by the University MRC’s Proximity to Discovery scheme.

NU Innovates: FMS Fellows – How to give an Elevator Pitch and Sell Your Research Ideas
We are offering two half-day workshops, on Thursday 18th October and Wednesday 24th October (content will be duplicated) facilitated by Dr Dave Simpson.
Booking is essential, please visit our website for more information and to secure your place!

Our previous events: 

30th July 2018 –Collaborate with GSK, with guest speaker Iain Uings, Director of Discovery Partnerships with Academia at GlaxoSmithKline.
Iain Uings provided details of the GSK Discovery Partnership for Academia scheme (, designed to provide industrial drug discovery resources and expertise to academic researchers. GSK is interested in any disease area and based on any treatment modality, be it small molecule or biopharmaceutical. GSK will undertake projects starting from early screening to late lead optimisation.

11 July 2018 – Collaborate with Johnson & Johnson with guest speaker Michael Kelleher, J&J Innovation Ambassador.

This seminar provided an overview of the research activities and focus of J&J, and about opportunities to collaborate with J&J on drug discovery, diagnostics and medical devices to advance new healthcare solutions in the areas of Immunology, Neuroscience, Oncology, Diabetes & Metabolism and Infectious Diseases & Vaccines.

14 June 2018 – “Connecting with Industry – How to initiate R&D interactions with companies and maximise the long-term effectiveness of partnerships” with guest Speakers: Dave Simpson, CEO, Glythera Ltd, & Mark Birch-Machin, Associate Dean of Business Development and Commercial interface (FMS).

This session provided both an industry and academic perspective on how to initiate interactions with companies and maximise the long-term effectiveness of partnerships. The industry angle was provided by Dave Simpson (15 years’ in biologics development and commercialisation with the likes of Cobra Biologics, Eden Biodesign and Actavis), now CEO of Glythera, a next-generation antibody drug conjugate (ADC) company. Mark Birch-Machin spoke about his varied experiences of kick starting and growing collaborations with industry partners such as Unilever, P&G, Croda and Lonza.

23rd May 2018 – “Consultancy and Contract Research 101” with Guest Speaker Mark Cunningham, Professor of Neuronal Dynamics, Institute of Neuroscience.

This session was for anyone wanting to learn more about becoming a consultant or undertaking contract research for a company. Perhaps you are already doing this, but want to get the best price for your skills?  It provided a refresher for individuals already acting as a consultant, and an introduction for those considering consultancy and contract research in the near future.

Mark Cunningham will discuss his varied experiences and insights of working with different industry partners.  Mark’s foray into working with industry started with an Innovate UK/MRC Biomedical Catalyst award with Autifony Therapeutics Ltd, working on interventions for schizophrenia. Mark now works with companies ranging from small biotech firms to top pharmaceuticals in North America, Asia and Europe, providing expertise that can help the progress of drug discovery projects.

23 April 2018 – “Why Industry-University Partnerships Are Important for You” with Guest speaker Paul Swift, Open Innovation Manager, Procter & Gamble

Prof Mark Birch-Machin, Associate Dean of Business Development and Commercial interface will launch NU Innovates with a lunchtime seminar titled, “Why Industry-University Partnerships Are Important for You”. This session will focus on the £1million of internal and faculty funding available to support activities and collaborations with industry, as well as insights from Paul Swift, Procter & Gamble’s Open Innovation Manager, on working with academia and the opportunities available to collaborate with P&G. Further information on future NU Innovates events will also be provided.

You can now access a RECAP recording of the event.