The University of Exeter now has two Entrepreneurs in Residence, appointed as part of a new Royal Society scheme.
Healthcare industry expert Roger Killen, a founder of companies including Dr Foster and The Learning Clinic, will be Entrepreneur in Residence at the Living Systems Institute, working to boost the impact of Exeter’s research.
Professor Rob Lee, Senior Principal Scientist at Shell and now Entrepreneur in Residence at the BioEconomy Centre, will aim to bridge that gap between academia and industry.
Both have long-standing links with the university, but will now be funded to spend 20% of their working time in residence over the next two years, sharing their expertise and with students and staff.
Mr Killen, an electrical engineer and “serial entrepreneur for the past 25 years”, said it was an “honour and privilege” to be chosen.
“Recognition from the Royal Society inspires confidence, and equally a sense of responsibility to provide a valuable contribution through the term of the award,” he said.
“I will be pleased if, at the end of the two-year term, we can point to more successful businesses spun-out from local scientific discoveries; we can establish an entrepreneurial dimension to many undergraduate and postgraduate programmes; we can identify more of the university talent moving into career roles in the region.”
John Terry, Professor of Biomedical Modelling at the University of Exeter, said: “It is fantastic news that Roger will be able to spend time with us here in the Living Systems Institute.
“Roger’s experience and expertise, particularly in the healthcare domain, will be an invaluable resource for us.”
Mr Killen and Professor Lee are among 19 enterprising businesspeople appointed as the Royal Society’s first over cohort of Entrepreneurs in Residence.
They met Prince Andrew at an event at the Royal Society in London.
The aim of the scheme is to support UK universities in translating their world-leading research into new businesses and commercial products.
Professor Lee said: “I am extremely honoured to be chosen for one of the Royal Society’s Entrepreneur in Residence roles.
“As the Entrepreneur in Residence for the Biosciences Department at the University of Exeter, my aim is to help increase the level of successful technology start-ups and exploitation of intellectual property arising from biosciences research and education activities undertaken at the university.
“I intend to achieve this by furthering the development of students’ and researchers’ understanding of how to commercialise technology.”
He added: “I have worked and collaborated with the University of Exeter for over 15 years and have been impressed with the energy and innovation shown by their researchers.”
John Love, Professor of Synthetic Biology at Exeter, said: “Professor Rob Lee’s expertise in research, innovation and business, acquired through years of practise as a leader in a multinational organisation will be an inspiration.”
Previously the preserve of venture capital firms, Entrepreneur in Residence schemes have become more commonplace in business schools like Harvard, Stanford and MIT.
Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support, Innovation, Impact and Business, said: “I have seen the results that Entrepreneurs in Residence have delivered in collaboration with our SETsquared Exeter business support provision (SETsquared was recently ranked as the world’s leading business incubator).
“It is clear that experienced mentors can bring huge insight to nascent entrepreneurs. I congratulate Rob and Roger on their posts and look forward to working with them.”