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Innovate UK
Innovate UK

Meet our Health and Life Sciences team

We support UK businesses in tackling some of the biggest global health and food challenges. For example:

  • World population is expected to grow by more than 2 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050, placing significant demand on our food, health and care systems
  • An ageing population and increased expectations pose particular challenges
  • Global agricultural production must increase by 60% by 2050 to provide safe, nutritious and affordable food for all
  • Consumer demand will need to be met with finite and unevenly distributed land, energy and water
  • The threat from drug-resistant pathogens in humans and animals must be addressed
  • Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems, some cancers, and respiratory, neurological and liver diseases continue to cause premature deaths

UK universities carry out outstanding research in health and life sciences. We help businesses to turn this world-class research into the products and processes that address these challenges.

Meet the team that supports UK businesses to take advantage of Innovate UK’s Health and Life Science fund and connect opportunities.

Dr Ian Campbell, Director of Health and Life Sciences

ian campbell Director for Health and Life Sciences

I took up the role of Director of Health and Life Sciences at Innovate UK in October 2016.

I have extensive entrepreneurial and business experience in the healthcare sector. Prior to Innovate UK, I was CEO of Arquer Diagnostics, which focuses on bladder and prostate cancer diagnosis.

Before this, I spent 15 years in a variety of executive management roles within the health and life science sector including Molecular Vision, an Imperial College spin-out company, developing a disposable, quantitative point-of-care diagnostic platform, which was acquired by Abingdon Health in 2012.

Kath Mackay, Interim Deputy Director of Health & Care

Kath Mackay, Interim Deputy Director of Health & Care

I joined Innovate UK in 2013 to co-manage the Regenerative Medicine & Advanced Therapies Programme. I am now Interim Deputy Director of Health & Care and lead a team delivering programmes across high value areas for UK health and biomedical businesses.  These include advanced therapies, precision medicine, medicines discovery, digital health, disease prevention & wellbeing, antimicrobial resistance and vaccines, biosciences, the Biomedical Catalyst and Small Business Research Initiative.

I have over 15 years’ experience in business development, commercial operations, and life sciences research, spanning multiple disease areas and technologies across USA and EU markets.

Dr. Penny Wilson, Senior Specialist – AMR, Vaccines & Global Health

Since 2008, I have worked closely with Innovate UK and joined the organisation in 2012 to oversee all precision medicine and Infectious disease programmes. I am now focusing on antimicrobial resistance, vaccines and global health to define innovate UK’s remit in these areas.

Previously, I spent over 25 years in the Diagnostics Industry in a variety of senior technical and strategic roles. In recent years, I have focused on precision medicine, including infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance, and the development of novel diagnostics systems.

Phil Packer, Innovation Lead Antimicrobial Resistance & Vaccines

Phil Packer, Innovation Lead Antimicrobial Resistance & Vaccines

I joined Innovate UK in September 2017.

Prior to this I held various research and research management positions within the public sector.  Most recently I managed a research programme for Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) that included the development of medical countermeasures against biological and chemical agents, diagnostics, trauma care, regenerative medicine and hearing loss.  My first job at Dstl was the management of the UK plague vaccine programme.  Previous to this I worked at Centre for Microbiology and Research (CAMR) where I completed a Ph.D and post-doctoral research in cancer and biofilms before moving into the European Collection of Cell Cultures (ECACC) as Quality Manager.

Jerome De Barros, Horizon 2020 NCP/Global Innovation Lead

Jerome de Barros – National Contact Point for Health, Wellbeing and Demographic Change

I joined Innovate UK in January 2015.I am the Horizon 2020 NCP for Health and Wellbeing and am mainly responsible to help UK applicants to the Horizon 2020 Health opportunities, input into the content of the calls published under the Health Challenge as a member of the UK H2020 Programme Committee delegation, and support Innovate UK’s international strategy.

In my previous position, I was overlooking the evaluation and progress of a portfolio of >100 research & innovation projects across Europe for the Active Assisted Living programme (AAL Programme), a EU funding initiative supporting ICT for Active and Health Ageing.

Richard Hebdon, Interim Senior Innovation Lead – Health Technologies and Innovation Lead – Medicines Discovery

Richard Hebdon, Lead Technologist in Biosciences in the Enabling Technologies

I joined Innovate UK in May 2015. I am currently the interim Senior Innovation Lead – Health Technologies in the Health & Life Sciences Sector and the Innovation Lead - Medicines Discovery. I lead a team with interests in Precision Medicine, Digital Health, Healthy Aging and Biomedical Enabling Technologies.

Prior to joining Innovate UK, I worked in technology transfer, R&D management, drug discovery and other lab-based R&D roles in the pharmaceutical, FMCG and defence sectors, including roles with Ploughshare Innovations, Reckitt Benckiser and drug discovery SME's including Leeds University spin out Syntopix and Cambridge-based Vernalis.

Hazel Harper, Innovation Lead – Disease Prevention & Wellbeing

Hazel Harper – Programme Manager, Independent Living

I joined Innovate UK in the Health and Care team as Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) Programme Manager in October 2013, responsible for the large £37m demonstrator programme dallas: Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale.

Before joining Innovate UK, I worked for Kent County Council for 26 years in various roles. For the last nine years, I worked in the Social Care Directorate delivering assistive technology programmes, including Whole System Demonstrator (WSD), before moving into commissioning services for older adults.

Chris Rowe, Innovation Lead – Precision Medicine

Chris Rowe – Lead Technologist, Stratified Medicine

I joined Innovate UK in 2014. I am Innovation Lead for the Precision Medicine team, which is part of the Health & Life Sciences sector group at Innovate UK.  The aim of the Precision Medicine team is to build on the UK's strengths in the field of precision medicine, often referred to as stratified or personalised medicine, and to put it at the centre of the next generation of medicine development.

I have a background in medical innovation, initially working for a large medical device company as their Senior Research Engineer, with a team developing new medical technology. I have also worked the field of technology transfer in the NHS and as a consultant, helping individuals and SMEs to develop innovative medical technologies.

Chris Sawyer, Innovation Lead – Digital Health

Chris Sawyer – Lead Technologist, Independent Living

I joined Innovate UK in June 2014 and am responsible for Digital Health.

I have over 30 years’ experience in the Healthcare technology sector including, but not limited to having worked for Hewlett Packard and Philips Medical Systems in their patient monitoring divisions as well as supporting the development of new innovative technological solutions for NHS Innovation Hubs.

Elaine Evans, Senior Innovation Lead - Health and Medicines 

Elaine Evans – Lead Technologist, Health & Care

I started leading the Biomedical Catalyst at Innovate UK in 2013, a year after it started. The Biomedical Catalyst has so far committed over £145m grant funding to innovative healthcare SMEs.

Before joining Innovate UK I worked in pharmaceuticals and medical devices companies in a variety of different roles, including founding and running an SME. I have an external role as Chair of the UK Pharmaceutical Licensing Group. Before entering industry I obtained a PhD in pharmacology and was a post-doctoral researcher in molecular biology at the NIH and at Stanford University in the USA.

Cynthia Bullock, Innovation Lead – SBRI/Lead Customer and Investor Relations

SBRI team - Cynthia Ugochukwu

I joined Innovate UK in 2015.   I lead the SBRI/Lead Customer and Investor Relations programmes within the Health and Life Sciences sector.  I help Department of Health (DH), its agencies (such as the NHS) and other relevant public bodies to procure R&D solutions which address their defined need from innovative companies.  I am responsible for the £70m Vaccine SBRI programme funded by DH.  I also work with investor partners to increase the availability of equity investment to high growth potential companies within the UK.

I have over 15 years background in healthcare, initially as a post-doctoral scientist in biochemistry and molecular biology then moving on to lead translational research within several large acute hospitals.

Nick Medcalf, Innovation Lead – Advanced Therapies

Nick Medcalf, Innovation Lead – Advanced Therapies

I joined Innovate UK in September 2017 as an Innovation Lead – Advanced Therapies. My responsibilities include developing the innovation strategy in cell-, gene-, tissue- and synthetic biology-related areas of the Health & Life Sciences portfolio. I also manage projects assigned to support the advanced therapies funding portfolio and, in particular, manage the relationship with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and the new Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Centre at Stevenage.

Before joining Innovate UK, I spent 4 years at Loughborough University where I was Professor of Regenerative Medicine Manufacture and, until 2016, Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine.

Ian McKay, Innovation Lead – Advanced Therapies

Ian McKay, Innovation Lead – Advanced Therapies

I joined Innovate UK in 2017 as Innovation Lead for Advanced Therapies. These therapies have the potential to transform the treatments of some diseases but create a range of challenges related to their production, regulation and delivery to patients that need to be overcome full their full potential can be realised.

Before working for Innovate UK, I was based at the Department of Health as part of the Genomics, Science and Emerging Technologies team where I was the policy lead for stem cell transplantation and advanced therapies. I worked closely with other members of the team supporting a broad remit that included; rare diseases, genomics and emerging technologies.

Calum Murray, Head of Agriculture and Food

Calum Murray – Programme Leader, Sustainable Agriculture and Food

I joined Innovate UK in 2010 and am currently responsible for a team supporting primary agricultural production and the enhancement of food quality across the supply chain.

Key elements of my role have included delivery of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform and participation on the Cross Whitehall working group developing and subsequently delivering the “UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies”. I currently provide input to the AgriFood Technology Council, as well as actively engage with a number of advisory boards and stakeholder group including The Global Food Security initiative, LEAF, the “N8” group of Northern England universities and AgriTech East.

Prior to Innovate UK, I worked initially within the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food’s extension service “ADAS” in England, as a specialist farm business consultant; with Scottish Agricultural Colleges as a technical adviser and with Bank of Scotland as their national agricultural specialist, later becoming their Regional Director of the joint venture NFU Mutual Finance in 2006.

Ian Cox, Innovation Lead – Agritech Centres

Ian Cox, Innovation Lead, Agri-Tech Centres at Innovate UK

I joined Innovate UK in March 2015. I am leading the roll out of an £80 million capital programme developing four Centre’s for Agricultural Innovation as part of the UK’s Strategy for Agricultural Technologies to deliver applied research to solve industry’s problems. I am also leading on developing agri-tech relationships with China after signing an MoU with the China Rural Technology Development Centre in November 2016.

Before joining Innovate UK, I worked at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), a Government Science Agency, in a variety of roles.

Ian Holmes, Agriculture and food NCP/Global Innovation Lead

Ian Holmes - National Contact Point for Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine and Inland Water Research, Bioeconomy

I am part of the Innovate UK, Health and Life Sciences Team, supporting the “Societal Challenge Two” area of Horizon 2020 and other International Activity in the areas of Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, Bioeconomy and Blue Growth.

I have been involved with innovation support and knowledge transfer for over a decade. I have managed and written bids for UK funding as well as FP7 and Life+ applications. I evaluated bids for UK Agencies and the European Commission Eco-Innovation Programme.

  • Twitter @UKH2020_Sustain
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Tom Jenkins, Innovation Lead – Agriculture and Food

Tom Jenkins – Lead Technologist, Sustainable Agriculture and Food

I joined Innovate UK in March 2013 and lead delivery of the £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst.  I also delivered successful competitions under the Sustainable Agri-Food Innovation Platform in trait measurement technologies, engineering solutions and crop & livestock disease challenges.  I lead the Agri-Food International Strategy, delivering a UK mission to Canada and a UK / Canada Agri-Food roadmap event this year that have identified priority areas for future R&D programmes.

I was previously Assistant Director and Head of the Plant & Crop Sector team at KTN Ltd, where I managed two Special Interest Groups on behalf of Technology Strategy Board in Algal Bioenergy and Synthetic Biology.  I have strong technical knowledge of biosciences and agriculture from post-doctoral research posts held at leading universities and research institutions in the UK and Europe.

Kathryn Miller, Innovation Lead – Food

Kathryn Miller, Innovation Lead – Food

I joined Innovate UK in July 2017 and my role within the team is to help manage and influence Innovate UK’s work in the Food and Agriculture sector with specific emphasis on the enhancement of food quality, food safety, food technologies, diet, nutrition and health.

Prior to joining Innovate UK, I was Head of Food Policy at Coeliac UK, the UK charity for people living gluten free.

Andrew McLay, Innovation Lead Primary Agriculture

Andrew McLay, Innovation Lead Primary Agriculture

I joined Innovate UK’s Health and Life Sciences team in October 2017, and am responsible for driving innovation across primary agriculture – up to the farm gate.

I am fascinated by business strategy and agriculture so my career has been based around agri-food marketing, market research and strategy.  Prior to joining Innovate UK, I was working as an independent research and strategy consultant.  I also have over 10 years’ experience as a consultant for Promar International, the consulting arm of Genus Plc.

Before moving to the UK, I held senior international marketing roles for a number of Australian industry organisations, including Dairy Australia and Australian Pork Limited.

Gina Wren – Health & Life Science Portfolio analyst (Graduate)

Gina Wren – Health & Life Science Portfolio analyst (Graduate)

I am a Durham University graduate holding a BSc in Natural Sciences in the areas of Biology and Psychology. I love human biology and learning about how the brain functions.

I know my time at Innovate UK will be a steep learning curve but I’m really looking forward to it. I am really looking forward to working with a variety of cutting-edge companies.

Maria Twardowska – Programme Analyst Biomedical Catalyst (Graduate)

Maria Twardowska – Programme Analyst Biomedical Catalyst (Graduate)

My background is rooted in biomedicine, particularly in how personalised treatments can revolutionise research and healthcare practice, as well as integrating both into a single continuum. I have completed a BSc Biomedicine at Lancaster University and I am currently studying for an MSc Stratified Medicine and Pharmacological Innovation at the University of Glasgow. My master’s project focuses on the implementation of a novel Health Informatics Platform to streamline and upscale clinical trials into major chronic diseases.

I am very glad to join an organisation that is at the heart of this process where I aim to gain invaluable skills, build a network to further grow and play an active role in introducing disruptive technologies to the market.

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