Our speakers

We are delighted to announce our confirmed speakers for the HUCBMS 2017 Conference.

Prof Gerry McKenna

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Professor Gerry McKenna MRIA is a former Dean of science, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research), and Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Ulster. He was the key architect in the transformation of the University from a largely teaching-only institution in the 1980s into one with a strong reputation for research and knowledge transfer. He internationalised the University through collaborative research and teaching linkages with leading universities in the United States, Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia and Australia.

McKenna has been centrally involved in developing many national and international initiatives including the establishment of Universities Ireland (as founding chair), and being co-founder of the Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Sciences (HUCBMS), the US-Ireland R&D Partnership and the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA). Locally, he has been a pioneer of knowledge transfer. He was co-founder of the Northern Ireland Science Park and developed incubator facilities for start-up companies across each of the University of Ulster’s campuses. He chaired the Northern Ireland Foresight: Life and Health Technologies Report.
He is currently Vice President of the Royal Irish Academy and President Emeritus and Honorary Executive Secretary of HUCBMS.

Prof Yvonne Barnett
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Professor Yvonne Barnett, BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science and PhD Biochemistry and Genetics, is Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Nottingham Trent University.

She has active research interests in causes and mechanisms of cancer and ageing and has authored in excess of 100 peer-reviewed original research papers, attracted several million pounds of funding support for research from a range of funding agencies and has long-standing collaborations with Centres of Excellence worldwide.

Yvonne is a Director of Medilink East Midlands and of BioCity Group Limited. She chaired the QAA Benchmark Panel for Biomedical Sciences, was an output assessor for the A03 REF 2014 sub-panel and is currently co-chair of the UUK working group on Open Access Service Standards. Yvonne was founding Director of the University Alliance Doctoral Training Alliance in Applied Biosciences for Health, which is the topic of her address to the 2017 HUCBMS conference.

Charles Brasted

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Charles is a partner and Head of Public Law and Policy at Hogan Lovells, an international law firm.

He works at the intersection of business, law and policy, helping businesses, governments and other stakeholders to engage effectively in the making of the laws, regulations and policies that affect them.

A constitutional law specialist, his practice is underpinned by his experience of acting in comm ercial judicial reviews and other public law challenges before UK and European Courts, particularly in high-profile and complex matters in heavily regulated sectors, including life sciences.

Charles is a founding member of Hogan Lovells' Brexit Taskforce and a leading authority on the constitutional, legal and policy implications of Brexit. He is one of three external members of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's Legal Expert Network and sits on editorial boards for a number of legal publishers.

Nick Hillman

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Nick Hillman has been the Director of HEPI since January 2014. He worked for the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, now Lord Willetts, the Minister for Universities and Science, from 2007 until the end of 2013, as Chief of Staff and then Special Adviser in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Previously, he was a History teacher and worked at the Association of British Insurers. At the 2010 general election, he was the runner-up in Cambridge.

He has written for a range of think tanks and journals. His more recent writings include articles on the Coalition’s higher education reforms for the Oxford Review of Education (2016), on access to schools and selective universities for Higher Education Review (2014) and on the fifty-year history of student loans for Contemporary British History (2013). He also wrote the authoritative account of being a special adviser for the Institute of Government (2014).

His recent pamphlets for HEPI include an assessment of the impact of students in the general election of 2015, a comparison of the UK and German higher education system, a piece on the educational underachievement of young men and a study on students’ attitudes to free speech.

Dr Ruth Jackson

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Dr Ruth Jackson is the Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Medical Science, and has been seconded for 2 years as PVC for the Medical School Development project.

Ruth is also Director of the Postgraduate Medical Institute - Anglia Ruskin’s internationally recognised translational medical research institute. Founded in 2008, the Postgraduate Medical Institute (PMI) is a partnership, unique in the United Kingdom, of all the acute, mental health, primary care trusts in the county of Essex, the Royal Society for Public Health, Essex County Council, two national private health providers and Anglia Ruskin University.

Ruth’s research interests are in high risk obstetrics.

Tricia King

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Tricia King serves as vice president of global engagement and is responsible for the global development of CASE. She works with the three regional offices in London, Mexico City and Singapore, providing strategic leadership and ensuring effective collaboration with CASE headquarters.

Before joining CASE, Tricia was at Birbeck, University of London for almost 11 years, serving as pro-vice master for strategic engagement as well as director of external relations. Prior to that, she served as director of marketing, recruitment and admissions at Roehampton University in London and as head of marketing at York St. John University in the City of York.

Prior to joining CASE as a staff member, Tricia was a long-time volunteer of CASE, serving as a trustee on the CASE Europe Board of Directors for eight years and as a member of the CASE Communications and Marketing Commission for three years. She has presented at many CASE conferences worldwide and received the CASE Crystal Apple for Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012. In addition, Tricia is a 2014 recipient of the CASE Europe Distinguished Service Award.

David Sweeney

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David Sweeney is Executive Chair Designate of Research England, the council responsible for university research and knowledge exchange within UK Research & Innovation.  Until 1st April 2018 he is also Director (Research & Knowledge Exchange) for the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

After gaining First Class Honours in Statistics at the University of Aberdeen, David worked at 2 Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) research institutes, as a consultant statistician then developing mathematical models of plant growth. His work on the computational aspects of this led into broader applications of IT in education and research, and he was Director of Information Services at Royal Holloway, University of London, before moving into university leadership as Vice-Principal (Communications, Enterprise and Research) in 2004. In this role he was responsible for research strategy and for developing Royal Holloway’s research-led commercial and consultancy activities.

He joined HEFCE in 2008 as Director (Research, Innovation and Skills) and led the development and implementation of the first Research Excellence Framework including the new impact agenda element. He is currently responsible for research policy and funding, knowledge exchange and university/business relations.

David has been invited to visit many countries to advise on research assessment and funding, particularly with respect to research impact.  David was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in 2012, was Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Newcastle, NSW in 2015 and is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

Prof Roderick Watkins

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Roderick Watkins was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at Anglia Ruskin University in 2015. Prior to joining ARU, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he was appointed Professor of Composition and Contemporary Music in 2005.

Roderick's research has focused on digital sound synthesis and the combination of instrumental and electronic timbres, and his compositions have been performed and broadcast across Europe and the UK. He has wide experience of research leadership and management, and in 2016 was a member of the Advisory Group for Lord Stern’s review of the REF.

Dr Selwa Alsam

Dr Selwa Alsam

Following the BSc degree in Microbiology from Iraq, Dr Selwa Alsam moved to the UK. She completed an MSc in Microbiology from the University of Bristol and worked in Medical Microbiology Departments in several hospitals in the UK and abroad. She then got a PhD degree from the University of London and moved to the University of Bedfordshire in 2008 to teach and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students. In 2010, Selwa joined the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex as a lecturer in Medical Microbiology and Professional Lead of the Biomedical Science Course. She supervises several MSc and PhD students. 

Selwa maintains a broad interest in all aspects of infectious diseases and hospital-related infections. She is an active verifier and assessor of more than 35 registration and specialist portfolios representing the University and the Institute of Biomedical Science. She's also a reviewer of scientific journals and participates in national and international conferences.

Paul Simmonds

Paul Simmonds

Paul Simmonds is the Technopolis UK Managing Director, a member of the Technopolis Group Board and the Chair of the University of Sussex’s Research Governance Committee.  Paul has been involved in policy consulting since the late 1980s and is specialised in studies related to research and innovation.  He works with clients across the UK and internationally, particularly with the European Commission.

In the UK, Paul is leading the Technopolis team providing the analytical support to the BEIS Science and Innovation Audits (SIA).  He is also leading the evaluation of the Diamond Light Source and the Hartree economic impact assessment.  He also led the Technopolis team providing support to Lord Stern in his review of REF2014 and the REF 2014 Accountability Review.

Paul was closely involved with two recent BREXIT-related reviews of UK research and innovation, with the first looking at the benefits of EU funding to UK research in the round – for the national academies – and the second exploring the value of UK medical research to EU science and health

His research and innovation related work for the Commission ranges from the evaluations of Horizon 2020 support for innovative procurement through to the interim evaluation of H2020 space and the new SME instrument.  Outside Horizon 2020, Paul led the evaluation of the EC Paediatric Regulation and its impact on innovation in medicines for Children and the review of EFSA’s use of scientific advice.

Dr Chris Jones

Dr Chris Jones

Dr. Chris Jones joined Innovate UK in 2014 as Lead Technologist (Biosciences) in the Enabling Technologies team, with a technical speciality in Synthetic Biology, and now heads the Emerging Technology team. Technologies are early stage technologies, recently arisen from university or corporate research activities with the potential to disrupt existing markets and forge entirely new product/service sectors. Past or live examples include graphene, quantum technologies, biofilms, energy harvesting and synthetic biology.

Chris received his PhD in molecular genetics from Leicester University in 1984 and after postdoctoral research in the US spent the bulk of his career in industry, managing global biotechnology projects for the MARS Corporation in the areas of materials development and plant and animal genomics. In 1996 he moved back to Leicester University to manage the technology transfer team, with a continued emphasis on biomedical sciences translational research, as well as managing the University spin-out company portfolio. Much of his career has been at the leading, sometimes bleeding, edge of new technology innovation.

Sam Meakin

Sam Meakin

Sam joined the Department for Education in 2016, working on policy and delivery for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The TEF aims to recognise and reward high quality teaching in higher education. Sam currently leads on Subject-level TEF, which is being piloted over the next two years. Sam works in partnership with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), who are responsible for TEF implementation. Sam joined Her Majesty’s Civil Service from the private sector in Australia, where she was a public policy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.