The University of Manchester Innovation Academy is organising three events in June and July to support IP commercialisation within the computer science area. These workshops aim to inspire and accelerate the translation of knowledge into products, services or processes to deliver tangible benefit which will also enhance your research capability, profile, reputation and career trajectory. The events are aimed at academics, postdocs and students working and studying in the areas of Digitalisation/AI/Big Data/Open Source software/Cyber Security etc and are being specially tailored with relevant agenda topics and speakers.

These workshops will be held via Zoom from 13:00-14:00 on Friday the 25 June, 2 July and 9 July.  Further information and registration details can be found here.

This event is being organised by the University of Manchester Innovation Academy; a new umbrella initiative joint between the Innovation Factory, FSE Business Engagement & Innovation and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre which has the aim of bringing together knowledge, expertise and routes to facilitate the commercialisation of our research.

The three introductory events will be followed by on-going meetings and activities which will enable contact with dynamic tech companies, investors, big corporates, specialist IP lawyers as well as other organisations and individuals working in the tech/digital/AI space. 

Session I – Internal meeting (60 min)

25th June 2021 –  1-2pm

  1. Introduction (Prof Robert Stevens)
  2. Introduction to the Event Programme (Prof Aline Miller, Associate Dean for Business Engagement & Innovation in FSE)
  3. How does the commercialization benefit me and my department? (Andrew Wilkinson, CEO Innovation Factory)
  4. Routes to impact? (Prof Aline Miller, Associate Dean for Business Engagement & Innovation in FSE)
  5. Questions & Challenges
  6. What’s next?


Session II – Success and innovation in technology (60 min)

2nd July 2021. –  1-2pm

Session chair: Alex Creswell

  1. Introduction
    1. Clemens Wangerin, Managing Director at vTime
    2. Aileen Ryan, Senior Director of Portfolio Strategy at Siemens, Non-Executive Director
    3. Ethan Ayer, CFO at Cogility Software
  2. Q&A
  3. What’s next?


Session III – Big challenges and opportunities (60 min)

9th July 2021. –  1-2pm

Session chair: Simon Thorpe

  1. Introduction
    1. Alex van Someren (Managing Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners)

i.      Topic: How do VCs select winners?

ii.      Description: Venture Capital is a hits-driven business, like movie making and pop music. How do VCs decide which companies to back, and what predictors of success do they look for? Serial entrepreneur Alex van Someren explains from the VC’s perspective.

iii.      Bio: Alex is the Managing Partner of Early Stage Funds at global Venture Capital firm Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd, and he sits on the boards of several Amadeus portfolio companies. Alex has a current investment focus on UK deep technology including Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Cloud Computing/Enterprise SaaS, Cyber Security, Digital Healthcare, Medical Technology and Novel Materials & Quantum Technologies.

    1. Lee Strafford (CEO Co-Founder PlusNet)

i.      Topic: Building a successful business on Open Source

ii.      Description: Engineer by breeding, entrepreneur through necessity and finance/investment learnt to underpin both.

iii.      Bio: Co-founded and then developed Plusnet over its first ten years, Nasdaq reporting segment 2000-2004 then IPO’d on LSE AIM in 2004. Sold to BT Group PLC in 2007. All developed on a self-built LAMP stack with MYSQL, PHP and Java architecture, zero 3rd party software in the business and sector leading financial and operational KPIs. Subsequently turning community worker in ‘give back mode’, laterally Venture Capitalist. Aware of and at peace with my Asperger’s since 2004.

    1. Lucy Wojcik (Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at OCADO GROUP PLC)

i.      Topic: Commercial Innovation and IP

ii.      Description:  Protection of technology and innovation by appropriate means can be pivotal to the success of a product, system or method commercially.  Failure to achieve adequate or appropriate IP protection can enable competitors and other 3rd parties to copy or use “hard worked for” innovation and reduce the value of the technology to the inventor of those inventions.  However, protection via IP rights can be seen to ‘slow the process of innovation down’.  The Ocado Group plc, has  tried to implement a more agile and collaborative working relationship with their innovators to assist in this process and ensure valuable IP is protected earlier and hence in place during commercialisation.

iii.      Bio: As a qualified EP and UK Patent Attorney with over 25 years’ experience in private practice and industry, Lucy has advised clients on everything from mechanical toys, to undersea pipelines and robotic picking systems.  She likes to think she is a disruptive influence on the IP community, preferring to interfere in the innovation process rather than to wait for inventors to approach her.  In the past 7 years, Lucy has been responsible for all aspects of IP at Ocado Group plc, currently the UK’s largest tech company by market cap.

  1. What’s next?


These workshops will be held via Zoom from 13:00-14:00 on Friday the 25 June, 2 July and 9 July.  Further information and registration details can be found here.