Get Involved


Day 1 – Tuesday 25th May – 11:00am to 12:30pm

Collaborating not competing – connecting Higher Education Institutions (HEI)

Jessica Pavlos, Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Manager, SOAS University of London

Jessica leads the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development team at SOAS. The team is tasked with attaining external funding for research and knowledge exchange activities and maximising the impact of SOAS research via partnerships and collaboration. Prior to joining SOAS in 2018, she worked in Research and Enterprise at Goldsmiths, University of London, for eight years. These roles have given Jessica a wealth of experience in promoting and supporting co-creation of research, bringing researchers together around interdisciplinary challenges, and supporting researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences to find models of knowledge exchange that work for them and their stakeholders. She is passionate about advocating for the value of arts, humanities and social sciences research both for their own sake and for the vital perspective they bring to complex global challenges such as those addressed by Bloomsbury SET.

Alexandra Anderson, PhD, Strategic Research Office, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Alex joined the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in May 2015 as a Strategic Research Officer. In this role, she delivers support mechanisms for fellowship and research grant applications across the School with a particular focus on innovation, translational research and knowledge exchange activities. Before joining the School, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London. In addition to researching neuro-immune communication at Imperial College, Alex chaired the Department of Life Science’s Postdoc Committee, organising seminars, mentoring and career development events.

Dr Aygen Kurt Dickson, Research and Innovation Strategy Manager at London School of Economics and Political Science

Aygen is Steering Group member of the Bloomsbury SET KE programme. Aygen supports development of strategic funding plans for academics, research groups and departments at LSE; whilst working towards policy and strategy development for research and innovation at institutional level, and linking research to innovation life cycle. Aygen has a PhD in Innovation Studies from UEL, which she studied as a Jean Monnet scholar, (partially funded by the European Commission), and has experience of working as research fellow in an EU FP7 project researching on ethical/social implications and governance of technological development process.

Hiten Thakrar, Programmes Manager for MedTech SuperConnector, Imperial College London

Hiten is responsible for the design, launch, and delivery of MTSC and oversees each programme run at the SuperConnector. Hiten has a broad skill set that includes, programme management, senior operations’ roles, and marketing & sales. He also has a keen understanding of the challenges that startups face and has used this insight to develop MTSC and ensure it has the right support ecosystems.


Day 2 – Wednesday 26th May – 11:00am to 12:30pm

Developing the KE ecosystem – partnering with industry

Dr Frank Heemskerk, CEO, Research & Innovation Management Services

After an academic career of 15 years in neurochemistry and pharmacology in the Netherlands (U Utrecht), USA (National Institutes of Health) and France (U Pasteur), Frank joined in the ‘90s the management of a small Bio-pharmaceutical company in Belgium (Tibotec-Virco), world leader in R&D for HIV drug discovery, development and diagnostics. Through multiple private placements the company grew rapidly to >250 employees, resulting in a high value acquisition by J&J.

Dr Virginia Marugan-Hernandez, Senior Research Fellow in Veterinary Vaccinology, The Royal Veterinary College

Dr Virginia Marugan-Hernandez completed her PhD in the Department of Animal Health (Universidad Complutense of Madrid) in 2011. Thereafter she joined the Royal Veterinary College as a postdoctoral researcher working in different aspect of the molecular and cell biology of coccidian parasites linked to vaccine development. In 2017 she was appointed as Research Fellow in Veterinary Vaccinology in the Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences and her current research is focus on the control of Eimeria parasites affecting chickens, leading research in transgenesis, developing protocols for the use of this parasite as delivery vector for antigens of other avian pathogens. She has also optimised in vitro methods of infection and development of E. tenella to evaluate anticoccidial compounds and standardised RNA interference and inhibition assays for the investigation of functional roles of parasite and host hub proteins for the identification of new therapeutic targets.

Dr Beth Brunton, Associated Project Leader, MSD Animal Health

Dr Beth Brunton started her career in the animal health industry in 2005 as an Associated Scientist at Schering-Plough Animal Health with the Research and Development department developing poultry vaccines. She completed her PhD in 2012 at the Royal Veterinary College working on an industrial funded project to develop genetic tools for the functional genomic analysis of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae. Keen to continue her career within the animal health industry, she joined MSD Animal Health in 2012 as a Vaccine Development Scientist within the Molecular Biology Research and Development department. In 2019, she relocated to the MSD Research and Development in the Netherlands to continue her career as an Associate Project Leader in poultry vaccine development.

Dr Eduardo Pontes, Associate Director Research Alliances Europe, Zoetis

Dr. Eduardo Pontes oversees Research Alliances activities in Europe for Zoetis. Dr. Pontes has 10+ years of experience in business development, technology scouting and external collaborations in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. In addition to external collaborations and business development, Dr. Pontes has held positions in marketing, regulatory affairs, and R&D, which gives him a unique perspective of the scientific, commercial and legal aspects of innovative technologies. He received his veterinary degree from the University of Sao Paulo (USP – Brazil) and holds a post-graduate degree in strategic management of innovation from the Campinas State University (UNICAMP – Brazil).


Day 3 – Thursday 27th May – 11:00am to 12:30pm

Lessons learned from delivering large-scale KE programmes

Dr Ray Kent, Director of Research & Innovation Services, The Royal Veterinary College and Bloomsbury SET Lead

Dr Ray Kent is the Lead for The Bloomsbury SET and Director of Research & Innovation Services at The Royal Veterinary College. He is involved in the development and implementation of strategies designed to maximise the College’s reputation and income from research and knowledge exchange, and enterprise activities including science and innovation policy. Externally, Ray is involved in KQ (Knowledge Quarter London), ARMA, Jisc, PraxisAuril, UPEN and Vitae. He is a member of the Peer Review College for UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships and other grant applications.

Tomas Coates Ulrichsen, Director, University Commercialisation and Innovation Policy Evidence Unit, University of Cambridge

Tomas is the Director of the University Commercialisation and Innovation (UCI) Policy Evidence Unit at the University of Cambridge. The UCI Policy Evidence Unit supports governments, funders, and universities in delivering a step change in the contributions universities make to innovation and economic prosperity – nationally and locally – through their commercialisation and other innovation-focused activities and partnerships. At UCI Tomas leads a team focused on providing academically rigorous, policy-engaged projects to improve the evidence base available to develop more effective approaches to supporting and enabling university-driven commercialisation and innovation activities. Tomas is an expert adviser to governments and funding agencies on knowledge exchange and has helped to assemble a robust evidence base on the focus and value of key funding programmes in this area. He was member of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) Technical Advisory Group where he developed the cluster methodology that underpins the KEF.

Dr Beverley Vaughan, Programme Director for UK SPINE, University of Oxford

Beverley joined the UK SPINE team in November 2018 and is responsible for the management of the UK-Knowledge Exchange programme. Developing the consortium to deliver a national network of collaborations offering innovative solutions to healthy ageing and treatment of diseases of ageing, with novel therapeutics and intelligent clinical trial design. With experience across the pharmaceutical and SME biotech community setting up complex networks (Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres, iUK), programme management (through challenging projects at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult) and business development (at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst). Beverley has Developed business and academic opportunities through to implementation, as well as teaching and personal development. Beverley has over 7 years’ experience as a clinical scientist specialising in haematology and oncology in addition to 5 years’ within academia, lecturing and managing R&D within the Medical Sciences at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Dr. Kirstie Cochrane, EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application) Director / Deputy Director of the Research and Enterprise Office, University of Essex

Kirstie gained her PhD in Food Science from the University of Reading and following this she worked for the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control as a microbiologist, later moving to their commercial development function. She spent three years at King’s College London as a Business Development Manager with a focus on health-related research, before joining the University of Essex as a Knowledge Exchange Manager for Life Science, where she was responsible for business development and engagement, the IP portfolio and technology transfer activity. In 2018, Kirstie took up the post of Director of EIRA, overseeing Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund grant that enabled EIRA to provide businesses with ground-breaking knowledge exchange opportunities. In 2021, Kirstie became the Deputy Director of Enterprise at Essex, where she is the lead for all of the knowledge exchange and business engagement activity, aiming to further develop commercialisation of the University’s excellent research.


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