Heather has 15 years’ experience of technology transfer and IP commercialisation at research intensive Universities; joining UMIST Ventures in 2000 and University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP) in 2004. In March 2016 Heather joined the University of Chester as Head of Business Development.
The Thornton Science Park is owned by The University of Chester, and is currently developing as an academic campus centred firmly on the needs of industry. This is for access to innovation through scientific collaborations and networks, access to skills through graduate placements and proximity, and the availability of high quality office and laboratory space for business growth. As part of a rapidly growing activity, Heathers role is to support the community of tenant companies on campus and to drive strategic relationships in our target sector areas of energy, environmental technology, automotive and advanced manufacturing.
At Manchester, her experience encompassed the development and market entry of a range of life science, engineering and technology innovations, typically starting at early TRL stages and with limited market knowledge. She directly managed licensing and venturing projects before heading up the Technology and Humanities team at UMIP. The group captured new IP with commercial potential from academics in Engineering and Physical Sciences, and Humanities departments, and developed IPR and technology to create new spin-out and social enterprises, and opportunities for co-development and licensing to a range of industry partners. In 2008 UMIP was successful in raising a £32M venture fund, the UMIP Premier Fund, to enable seed financing of spin-out companies, and to follow-on from the University’s own Proof of Principle programme of funding. In 2011 Heather assumed responsibility for the licensing business of UMIP across all technology areas and reshaped the strategy to enhance performance. In 2013, and as part of the senior management team, Heather drove additional changes in the TTO structure to improve performance and efficiency, and lead a team of 14 people as Director of IP Development and Partnering, responsible for capture of invention disclosures across campus and development to marketable and investable IP assets through early stage funding and collaboration.
Prior to joining UMIST Ventures, Heather spent 15 years in the pharmaceuticals and in-vitro diagnostics industries, latterly with Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson company. As a product development scientist, Heather brought to market three diagnostic products launched worldwide in regulated markets.
Heather was elected board member of ASTP-Proton in May 2013 and is chair of the Professional Development Committee.