Biomedical entrepreneurship in Valencia – 1st VLC INNOSALUD event.

A remarkable event took place last Tuesday in Valencia. The two main local universities and three hospital research trusts introduced eleven selected entrepreneurship initiatives to investors. Besides the many impressive proposals and the gifted teams leading them, this first edition stood out as demonstration of the powerful outcomes of collaboration among these public institutions. For many years they have successfully encouraged and funded seed actions for inter institutional research projects. Most of the showcased companies have indeed been born at the interface of biomedical, clinical and engineering research. This history of joint promotion of research is hopefully growing into more coordinated strategies to transfer research results into innovation and as a symbiotic voice towards regional and national political decision makers.

At the event, after institutional and political speeches that were a bit dull and lacklustre, presenting entrepreneurs had around 10 minutes to talk about their plans and answer questions from investors. These are my quick notes on them, please excuse brevity and inaccuracies.

Eritrocare (Presented by Emilio Sánchez Ortiga). Microscopy tools for the diagnosis of diabetes in real time. Detection, without staining, of morphological changes in erythrocytes from a blood capillary sample, with specialised propietary hardware and software. Launching with TRL4 and plan to reach TRL9 in 3 years with an investment of 500k€.

Match Biosystems (Presented by Adrián Teruel). Rapid in vitro detection of infectious pathogens. Mesoporous material with molecular gates that match oligonucleotide chains and release staining visible with the naked eye or with fluorometry. Beachhead application for candida albicans, with a diagnostic time of less than one hour, high sensitivity and low cost. Currently in TRL6.

MetSPag (Presented by Nuria Cabedo). New therapeutic agents for metabolic syndrome. PPARs agonist molecules. Currently in TRL3. Current plan to finish the pre-clinical phase.

DuraLocK (Presented by Carles). Seal kit to treat accidental ruptures of the human dura mater membrane. Application kit and implant / resorbable PLA thread to respond to and treat on site an accidental puncture of the dura, like the ones that rarely but sometimes happen during an epidural anesthesia procedure, with potential grave complications for the patient. Currently in animal model trial (sheep).

3D Surgical Technologies (Presented by ) Prosthesis for neo vaginal surgeries custom manufactured by 3D printing. An implant (named Paciena) for women born without a vagina. Most common current surgical technique uses artisanal prostheses, not well designed and with frequent complications. Plan to finish certification and implementation of marketing channels during 2020, with a need for financing of 400k€. Product launch in 2021.

Endoscopic Smart Center (Presented by Oscar Díaz and Lucas). System for monitoring and control of homeostasis in cavities. Insufflator system for endoscopy with temperature sensors in the surgical trocars, volume of the cavity, control and recycling of the gas used, and an artificial intelligence system that uses the images in real time to help the clinical decision. Plan to move from TRL6 to TRL9 in two years including clinical trial, with a budget of a bit over € 1M.

HistShock (Presented by José Luis García Gimenez). Test for sepsis diagnosis with isotopically labeled peptides. Relies on mass spectroscopy equipments, but with critical advantages over current tests, sensitivity and speed. 4-year investment plan of 3M€, 560k€ the first two years with clear milestones.

Brain Touch (Presented by Paco Camarena). Helmet for neurological treatments. Several neurological conditions targeted, Alzheimer’s, and others. Helmet focused utrasound with propietary system of lenses, to open the blood brain barrier and allow drugs into the brain. Plan to develop prototypes, validations, and certifications during the next three years.

Smart-Sens-H2S (Presented by Pilar Campins Falcó). Colorimetric sensor for halitosis detection. Bag test for blowing, onto colorimetric sensor, and mobile app.

Imaging Biomarker Analytics (Presented by Eric Abado). Biomarkers for the early detection of breast cancer. Image analysis software, multiparameter integration. Hospital license business model.

NELA Biodynamics (Presented by José Expósito Ollero). Expandable medical devices for orthopedic and trauma surgery. Intra bone marrow hip implant with expandable polymeric materials. The NELA implant is made by drilling instead of by impact reducing bone fracture during surgery. The procedure introduces the implant with slack and then it is expanded to a tight fix adaptable to bone and patient. Plan to move from TRL 6 to TRL 9 in four years.

More about the event in this press release.

Data hubs map

Bases de datos de proyectos europeos

La Comisión Europea mantiene varias bases de datos online con detalles sobre proyectos Horizon 2020 y anteriores que pueden ser muy útiles para buscar nuevos socios académicos o empresariales:

Horizon 2020 Dashboard – esta es la más completa y actualizada, muy interactiva y permite exportar datos en varios formatos. Incluye datos sobre proyectos FP7 y H2020, sobre propuestas H2020, datos agregados sobre participación de países, sobre resultados de los proyectos, y más.

EU Open Data Portal (ODP) – permite descargar datos en formatos .xls y .csv, e incluye entregables de proyectos, PI en proyectos ERC e investigadores en proyectos H2020 MSCA, que no se pueden encontrar en el H2020 Dashboard.

CORDIS – además de información de programas marco anteriores (FP6, FP5, etc.), incluye una herramienta muy interesante para hacer búsquedas geográficas visualizando participantes y coordinadores en varios programas en un mapa.

Proyectos ERC – información sobre los proyectos del ERC (incluidos los nombres de los PI). A diferencia del Dashboard permite buscar proyectos por campo de investigación (paneles científicos a los que deben enviarse propuestas, como PE1 o LS5).

EASME Data Hubs – herramienta interactiva que genera información sobre prioridades temáticas (por ejemplo, eficiencia energética) en varios programas de financiación de la UE relacionados con PYMEs

gbea logo

Keeping an eye on entrepreneurs

A few weeks ago the 2019 Royal Bank of Scotland Great British Entrepreneur Awards published their shortlisted finalists and I’ve been curious to check the many companies and great ideas assembled there. During the summer, googling a few every day, I started putting together the list below with website links a one line description with keywords of the companies. I’ll keep on adding as I search for more.

Entrepreneurial success is difficult to define, and to report about. News about startups rarely have in depth information about how much they invoiced, profit they made, or how many jobs they created. Rarely discuss what social need they helped answer. Many companies only made the news when receiving awards or when raising money from investors, which is a tricky measure of good future prospects for a new company.

An awards’ nominee list could be a starting resource to explore the past and present of several related startups, see if/how they survived the first months and years, how the skills of their employees and the focus of the company evolved. Apart from the company’s website, the names of the founders and leading employees can dig out a lot of information about the history and ongoing endeavours of a company, from local news, twitter, linkedIn, financial reports websites, etc.

Disruptor of the year

  • Andreas Schemm | Vreo | Branding and advertising for software and gaming applications.
  • Gillian Taylor | Marsden | Medical and industrial weighing systems.
  • Lynn White | Talent on Leave | Policies and support to employers wanting to retain talent after maternity leave.
  • Michael Roberts | Synpromics | Genomics, bioinformatics for the emerging synthetic biology industry.
  • Robin Sampson | Trade in Space | Satellite data and financial services in the agriculture trade sector.
  • Toby McCartney | MacRebur | Materials from non-recyclable waste plastic to enhance road asphalt.
  • Cas Paton | | UK online retail marketplace that connects sellers and buyers.
  • David O’Coimin | The Do Co Group | Furniture for new flexible and collaborative work styles.
  • John Fisher | Outdoorfood | Dehydrated food for outdoor sports.
  • Johnny Pearce & Tom Stringer | Oltco | Flooring non-slip solutions for homes and businesses.
  • Joshua & Nathaniel Stott | Pensionly | Pension’s app for self-employed people
  • Rob Thompson | Odyssey Innovation | Marine plastic recycled kayaks.
  • Jeanette Wong & Tom Pell | The Clean Kilo | Zero-waste supermarket / shop.
  • Paul Morris | Addmaster | Additives for the plastics, paper, textile, paints and coatings industries.
  • Russell Watkins | Sempai |Lean management and training tool and consultancy for manufacturers.
  • Sophie Thompson & Dominic Barnard | VirtualSpeech | Virtual reality for soft skills training.
  • Steven Williams | Drop Studio | Crowdfunding marketing and campaigns.
  • Stuart Anderson | eTravelSafety | Travel safety apps.
  • Stuart Mackintosh | OpusVL | Software consultancy.
  • Waqar Shah | Supermeal | online food ordering service and market place,
  • Chris Reed | ProxiSmart |Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for offline businesses.
  • Isabelle West | Hirestreet | High street outfit rental service.
  • Joanne Miller & Matthew Rees | The Wandering Dog | Fresh food for dogs.
  • Jonathan O’Halloran & Elaine Warburton | QuantuMDx Group | Tools and equipment for molecular diagnostics, fast analysis of biological markers in the genome and proteome.
  • Ryan Mottershead | Veritent | Automatic tracking of images used in the internet, for strategic, marketing, and legal decisions.
  • John Noone & John McColgan | Joule Group | Fire safety engineering and services for construction projects.
  • Michael Heaslip | Food Stories | Marketing of food brands.
  • Scott Riley | Causeway Living | Nature, fitness, wellbeing experiences.
  • Stephen Rice & Rowena Timms | Upskill Enterprise | Software for workforce talent and skills management.
  • Chris Nriapia & Lee Fella | Sentrysis | Software for crime reporting and monitoring.
  • Jordan Appleson | Hark | Monitoring sensors and software for industry.1
  • Mark Roberts | Beer Hawk | Craft beer online shop.
  • Martyn Gould | yboo | App that compares phone contracts and SIM-only deals from UK operators.
  • Matt Newing | Elite Group | Business communications and IT Services Provider and consultancy.
  • Somayeh Taheri | UrbanChain | Blockchain and artificial intelligence to directly connect consumers with energy providers and generators in the wholesale market.
  • Daniel Shellard, Ian McCaig & Sammi Adhami | Fiit | Fitness app with videos.
  • David McLagan | Ecoffee Cup | Reusable coffee cups.
  • Hayden Wood & Amit Gudka | Bulb Energy | Energy supplier of green and cheap energy.
  • Laurence Kemball-Cook | Pavegen | Pavement system that generates electricity.
  • Steven Callanan | WIREWAX | Video creation service with interactive features.
  • Steve Moore & Paul Barham | Flight Club Darts | Venues with organised social events with games and drinks.
  • Stuart McClure, David Bishop & Mark Solomon | | Shopping portal for sale and discount products.
  • Tugce Bulut | Streetbees | Market research, opinion polls consultancy.
  • Alison Ettridge | Talent Intuition | Software for business data analysis and intelligence.
  • Daniel Jefferys | Resooma | Shared accommodation portal, for students and other.
  • Debbie Garside | GeoLang | Software for enterprise security and data protection.
  • Gareth Tyler | Mogel | Property search engine and marketplace.
  • Lucy Cohen & Sophie Hughes | Mazuma | Finance and tax management for SMEs.
  • Marc Castro | Datalyse Group | Telemarketing and call centre software.

Health & beauty entrepreneur of the year

  • Chris Niven | TrueVit Naturals | Online shop of nutrition and health supplements.
  • Dianne Teo | T30 Fitness Training | Provider of fitness training instructors.
  • Kate Stott | BeautyBooker | beauty app will allow users to easily book appointments with multiple salons across the city.
  • Melanie Blane | White Rabbit Skincare | Plant based only skincare products.
  • Sara Roberts | Healthy Nibbles | Healthy snacks, vending, wholesale and online shop.
  • Tammy Koslowski | NAF! Stuff | Products for nail care.
  • Gail Francombe & Gareth Despres | School of Natural Skincare | Online skincare school.
  • Iona Smith | New Life Classes | Antenatal classes taught by midwives in UK locations and online shop.
  • Katherine Senior | EcoStardust | Biodegradable glitter, reseller of bioglitter.
  • Krista Taylor | Scence | Plant based only skincare products.
  • Lorraine Dallmeier | Formula Botanica | Online skincare school.
  • Tom Anderson-Dixon | Squash Stix | Single portions of squash drinks.
  • Amanda Crofts | Move with Mumma | Fitness services for moms and babies.
  • Anita Hill | Comfyse | Cushion designed for expectant moms and new moms.
  • Jack Gibson | Fitness Worx |Gyms and personal training.
  • Kameese Davis | Nylah | Hair care products with natural and safe ingredients.
  • Kate & Tracey Redmond | Style Coaching Institute | Training and courses for image consultants and personal stylists.
  • Louise White | Body Lip Lincoln | Body liposuction center, non-invasive fat reduction and skin treatments.
  • Maxine Laceby | Absolute Collagen | Collagen food supplements.
  • Natasha Ryan | Trimz & Tantrumz | Children hair saloon.
  • Charlotte Bailey & Sean Ali | Super U | Foods with health benefits, vegan-friendly, organic and gluten-free.
  • John Grumitt & Professor Mike Trenell | Changing Health | Software and apps for management and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
  • Jonathan & Antonia Philp | Better Health | Skincare products developed with nurses to help combat the effects of relentless hand-washing.
  • Megan Patrick | Brow Wow Bar | Specialist brow & beauty bar, several locations.
  • Nicola Wood | Kitui Hair Design | Hair saloon in Sunderland.
  • Conleth McAlinden | Kaizen Strength Training Gym | Gym
  • Lee Havern | Platinum Training Institute | Fitness and physical rehabilitation courses.
  • Oliver Jowett | Project 168 | Charity workout event to raise money for people suffering with brain tumours.
  • Scott Riley | Causeway Living | Nature, fitness, wellbeing experiences.
  • Ailish Lucas | The Glow Getter | Courses and consultancy on skin care and beauty products.
  • Christopher Haddon | Take A Breather UK | Reflexology, massage and wellness business in a boat.
  • Kal Bulbul | R10 Labs Skincare | Men skin care and shaving products.
  • Rob McGuigan | Firehouse Fitness | Gym and personal training.
  • Robert Hughes | Pivotal Drinks | Drinks in the nutri-cosmetic sector.
  • Sarwat Jaleel | Kushboo Soaps | hand-crafted soap
  • Alex Doyle | Altr |
  • Charlotte Tilbury MBE | Charlotte Tilbury Beauty |
  • Dom De Vetta | Shay & Blue |
  • Jack Nicoll | Cel |
  • Jade Elliott | Iconic London |
  • Julia Yule & Christina Moss | Bloom & Blossom |
  • Stephanie Eltz | Doctify
  • Stephanie Newport-Booth | GoSweat

Entrepreneur for good award

  • Callum MacKinnon | bOunceT Innovative Occupational Therapy CIC | Rebound therapy service for children and adults with a range of physical and cognitive disabilities.
  • Catriona Mann | Bplasticfree | A reusable, biodegradable alternative to cling wrap.
  • Celia Hodson | Hey Girls |Period products for girls that can’t afford them.
  • David Gibson | Fares4Free | Charity that provides free taxi rides for military veterans needing essential travel.
  • Dr Mick Jackson | The WildHearts Group |Portfolio of companies that create global social change: addressing social mobility in the UK, equipping young people with key development and employability skills, addressing gender inequality in the developing world.
  • Jeremie Warner | Power a Life | Phone chargers and power banks. For every sell they gift a free solar light to a child in a developing country.
  • Kristan & Jesse Papirio | Rise Nutrition | Personalized nutrition plans for each individual in a sports professional team.
  • Sara Hawkins | Projekt 42 | Gym with life coaching and mental health services.
  • Eoin Sharkey | The BioFactory | Sanitation solutions for use in refugee camps and rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. An all-in-one latrine and waste processing plant that utilises biodigestion to convert human waste into cooking fuel and soil conditioner.
  • Harry Dennis | Waterhaul | Sunglasses made from discarded fishing nets.
  • Jen Baughan | Solutions for the Planet |Educational programmes for young people to foster innovative, sustainable and entrepreneurial solutions to environmental and societal problems.
  • Josh Wintersgill | Able Move | Equipment and solutions for wheelchair transfer in aeroplanes / aviation industry.
  • Joshua Stunell | bthechange CIC | Support for first time offenders.
  • Susan Macdonald | Global Bright Futures | Sustainability consultants, working with companies to build sustainable supply chains and businesses.
  • Alexander Seery | Shifts to Success | Business accelerator for police officers.
  • Dr Asha Patel | Innovating Minds CIC | Mental health support for schools.
  • Guy Schanschieff | Bambino Mio | Reusable nappies and accessories.
  • Mac Alonge | The Equal Group | Support for industry to implement diversity and inclusion solutions.
  • Rebecca Gill | VR Therapies | VR therapies for kids with special needs and adults with disabilities, support through chemotherapy or physiotherapy, to improve social and behavioural difficulties in autism, to reduce levels of pain, stress, depression and anxiety.
  • Sophia Ferguson | Little Fox Clothing | Design and manufacture hand crafted, bespoke baby carriers and children’s wear. Parent brand of Tickle Tots reusable nappies and baby accessories.
  • Wendy Tarplee-Morris & Simon Tarplee | The Little Princess Trust | Real hair wigs free of charge to children and young people who have lost their own hair due to cancer treatment and other conditions.
  • Claire Goodliff | Community Fitness Network | Fitness programmes for communities. Promotion of exercise for seniors.
  • Marc Fenwick | Fundr |Crowdfunding platform for projects with local and social focus.
  • Nicola Wood | The Wonderful Wig Company | Hair-loss service.
  • Pauline Grant | Smell the Roses | Retreat days for people who care about, have or work with children with additional needs.
  • Ruth Oldfield | Coffee & Kin | Speciality coffee.
  • Dave Linton | Madlug | Backpack / bags that cover the cost of a free bag for a child in care.
  • Leigh Carey | The Hummingbird Project CIC | Mental health support and activities to a range of communities such as youth, the unemployed, professional staff and older people.
  • Oliver Jowett | Project 168 |
  • Scott Riley | Causeway Living | Nature, fitness, wellbeing experiences.
  • Beckie Morley | Musical Moments | Stimulating and interactive musical activities for care homes.
  • Beth Noy | Plastic Freedom | Online shop for plastic-free products.
  • Christina Colmer McHugh & Jonathan Elvidge | Moodbeam | Bracelet / wrist watch that improves mood.
  • Emma McClelland | Kintsugi Clothing | Clothing for the disabled community.
  • Francesca Hodgson & Andrew O’Brien | GoodBox | Cashless technologies to connect donors and causes.
  • Helen Bryce | Guilty Mothers Club | Courses and community for working mothers.
  • Lynn & Richard Bye | Fat Lad At The Back | Cycling gear in bigger sizes.
  • Matt Latham & Tom McGillycuddy | tickr | Fintech, social impact investment platform / app.
  • Alex Stephany | Beam | Online platform that crowdfunds employment training for homeless people.
  • Jamie Crummie | Too Good To Go | Food sharing app which sells food going out of date at a reduced price.
  • Jo Tutchener-Sharp | Scamp & Dude | Clothing for kids and grown ups.
  • Joel Remy Parkes | Bamboo Bamboo | Bamboo products for kids.
  • John Pritchard | Pala Eyewear | Sunglasses. For every pair of sunglasses sold, we give back to eye-care programmes in Africa by providing grants to vision centres, dispensaries and screening.
  • Julie Chen | The Cheeky Panda | Sustainable tissues and wipes made from virgin bamboo.
  • Peter Ackred | Disability Sports Coach | Charity that provide award-winning sport and physical activity opportunities for disabled people.
  • Stephen Addison | Box Up Crime | Work with young people at risk of having their lives ruined by crime and motivate them to rebuild and recapture their dreams and aspirations.
  • Beth Cosmos | Billygoats&Raincoats | Rain wear from recycled tent materials.
  • Lynn McFarlane | DRESD | Recycled set materials for the TV and film industries.
  • Matt Callanan | We Make Film Happen | Video production agency. Work in partnership with kindness project We Make Good Happen.
  • Ranjit Ghoshal | One Million Steps | Web/Mobile App integrating health challenges with fundraising to drive social impact and change.
  • Rob Oyston | Mobi-Game |
  • Si Martin & Hannah Morgan | Heads Above The Waves | not-for-profit organisation that raises awareness of depression and self-harm in young people.
  • Sophie Rae | Ripple | Zero-waste shop, selling bulk wholefoods by weight.
  • Vicki Roskams | Enbarr Foundation CIC | Recruitment and training agency supporting vulnerable and long term unemployed.

Entrepreneurial spirit award

  • Alena Rogozhkina | Sonas-Behavioural Science
  • Ally Houston | Paleo Canteen
  • Amanda Gillard | Adopt an AED
  • Claire Adams | Claire Adams Total Health
  • Clemence Cocquet | Scapa Fest
  • Francisco Carreno | Loch Electronics
  • Karis Gill & Aayush Goyal | Kaleidosocial Enterprises
  • Lynne Munro | CalEli Gifts
  • Andrew Cross | Earth Friendly Foodware
  • Katie Davis & Justina Perkins | Habox
  • Mark Callaghan | British Corner Shop
  • Philip Everett-Lyons | Hattiers Rum
  • Rose Unwin | Silver Swift Drinks
  • Stephanie Wheen | Gympanzees
  • Anthony Davis | The Original Patty Company
  • Derry Holt | OneUp Sales
  • Gurjinder Singh | The Car Spa Team
  • Jo Stroud | Fabulous Collections
  • Jo-Anne Shellum | Sociability Care CIC
  • Lucy Seeley | Equihandee
  • Rebecca Gill | VR Therapies
  • Simon Washbrook | popcorn
  • Ami Davies | Brand Ami
  • David Robinson | Robinson of England
  • Gail Curry | Happy Planet Creative Arts CIC
  • James Rutherford | Kick Cards
  • Mick Armstrong | SeaPigs
  • Tamma Carel | Imvelo
  • Adam Ewart | Send My Bag
  • Claire Loftus | EVOLVE
  • Katie Matthews | The Mind Tribue UK
  • Mark McGillion | Triex
  • Michael Heaslip | Food Stories
  • Cheryl Chan | Books About Who
  • Delight Mapasure | K’s Wors
  • Karl & Cathy Mason | Masons Yorkshire Gin
  • Mark Robinson | Just Strong
  • Melanie Parker | Graft
  • Naomi Mwasambili | Chanua
  • Nathaniel Birkett | The Swim Specialist
  • Sean Ramsden | Ramsden International
  • Ayush Sanghavi | AYUSH Apps
  • Gian Power | TLC Lions
  • Helen Burgess | Little Cooks Co
  • Jack Lennard | Quidditch Premier League
  • Jonny Plein | Pouch
  • Julia Jones | Found in Music
  • Mara Lagonigro & Paul Scott | Blush and Gold
  • Marie Farmer | Mini Mealtimes
  • Alan Pearce | BLUES MATTERS!
  • Chloe & Jeff Smith | Bigmoose Coffee Co
  • Daniel Shepherd | CanDo Laundry Services
  • Greg Jones | Greg Jones Personal Trainer
  • Marsha Ward | The Number Hub
  • Melissa Selmin | Melissa Selmin

Entrepreneur’s team of the year

  • Andrew Clayton | Essential Training
  • Dan McIvor | Swanky
  • Dylan Watkins | Poppy’s Picnic
  • George Hart & William Goodhew | Tobooka
  • Richard Godfrey & Keith Walker | Rocketmakers
  • Rin Hamburgh | Rin Hamburgh & Co
  • Adam Chandler | Reel Film Media
  • Ben Naylor | Jack Badger
  • Jordan Appleson | Hark
  • William Doyle | Raildiary
  • Alex McPherson & David Farquharson | Ignition Law
  • Danny Brooks | VHR
  • Dominic Ponniah | Cleanology
  • John Munn | Global Digital Week CIC
  • Joseph Munns | Bakedin
  • Mini Vohra | Cornucopia Events
  • Thang Vo-Ta | Callaly
  • Tina Euri | Moving Waves
  • Alex Parr | Wolfestone
  • Debbie Garside | GeoLang
  • Faith Olding & Lee Powell | Apollo Teaching Services
  • Jack James | Pontus Research
  • Leigh Thomas | Alliance Media Group
  • Matt Jones | S3 Advertising

Family business entrepreneur of the year

  • Calum McRae | Marzipan Media
  • David & Lou Rundle | Blue Star St Andrews
  • James & Enas Fleming | The Power Within Training & Development
  • Margaret & Stuart Webster | HungTen
  • Paul & Charlene Costello | Upload Abode
  • Steven McGuire | The Fresh Fruit Shop
  • Amy & Angela Gilbert | My Sewing Box
  • Bethan & Joe John | The British Blanket Company
  • Gail Francombe & Gareth Despres | School of Natural Skincare
  • Jo & Pete Cranston | Queen and Whippet Catering
  • Nathalie & Nicolas Alpi | CookiesHQ
  • Nick & Jo James | Bedfolk
  • Adam & Kim Burrage | Trident
  • Charlotte Russell | Pawprint Badges
  • Cleo Morris | MyDine
  • David Hallam | OrderWise
  • Estelle Keeber & Leona Burton | Mums in Business Association
  • Gill & Will Sherwin | Best of British Beer
  • Heather & Sebastian Horton | Ecrubox Digital
  • Sunny Mudhar | Family Secret
  • Ben & Mat Lyon | Lyon & Lyon
  • David & Hani Fashhou | 247 Enterprises
  • Edward Sexton | Glencroft
  • George Heler | Joseph Heler
  • Joe & Carly Taylor | Real Handful
  • Rosie Knight and Louise, Andrew & Jack Coulbeck | JCS Fish
  • Simon & Miranda Gregory | GPS Return
  • Tim Mason | WRS Solutions
  • Adam & Victoria Cozens | Perky Blenders
  • Gary & Alan Keery | Cereal Killer Cafe
  • Jerry & Shelley Lawson | Frog Bikes
  • Luke & Lisa Scott | Huski Home
  • Adam Holmes and Marcus, Luke & Hugo Ellingham | Brother Film Co
  • Olivia & Helen Collins | myza
  • Rupesh & Alex Thomas | Tuk Tuk Chai
  • Vivien & Howard Wong | Little Moons
  • Alex Lovén | Net World Sports
  • Chloe & Jeff Smith | Bigmoose Coffee Co
  • Faith Olding & Lee Powell | Apollo Teaching Services
  • Marcus Gough Jones & Cory Jones | The Disabled Reviewers
  • Mark, Sarah & Stephanie Harris | Pembrokeshire Wake Park
  • Natasha Louca-Jones & Adam Jones | Invncbl
  • Peter Webber | CellPath
  • Phillip & Mark Skinner | Ron Skinner & Sons

Creative industries entrepreneur of the year

  • Barbra Kolasinski | Barbra Kolasinski
  • Gerard Mckenzie-Govan | The Blankfaces
  • Hamish Menzies | Rocio UK
  • Marie Owen | LS Productions
  • Pete Martin | Always Be Content
  • Pooja Katara | SENSEcity
  • Caroline Norbury MBE | Creative England
  • Emily Smith | Emily Smith Ltd
  • Guy Procter | Engagement Cam
  • Katherine George | Oh So Social
  • Keri Andriana | Amschela
  • Olivia Tripp | Wekeend:IN
  • Clare Villar | Clare Villar Military Art
  • Ed Hollands | DrivenMedia
  • Elliott Johns | First Reunion Media
  • Janet Gray | Feed My Creative CIC
  • Nicki Capewell | Pedddle
  • Nikki Millar | Silly Girl Club
  • Sarah Field | Peach Wolfe Paper Co.
  • Surlender Pendress | Love Writing
  • Dominic Lusardi & Samuel Harris | Animmersion UK
  • Ellen Hedley & Henry Coggin | Vida Creative
  • Louisa Rogers | Trendlistr
  • Mandy Barker | Sail Creative
  • Sara Davies MBE | Crafter’s Companion
  • Ashleigh Watson | Copper Square Communications
  • Dani McFerran | Done and Dusted Design
  • Lucy Wallace | in klöver
  • Niamh Taylor | Digital 24
  • Ruth McEwan-Lyon | NI Silver
  • Ben Naylor | Jack Badger
  • Josh Gudgeon | Get Your Media
  • Laura Bartlett | House of Coco
  • Megan Jones | Curated Makers
  • Oliver Miller & Conor Povall | Kelham Island Concrete
  • Tim Hyde | TWH Media
  • Cass & Nick Horowitz and Faraz Aghaei | The Clerkenwell Brothers
  • Clare Harris | Talking Tables
  • Dominic Davis & James Milligan | Backyard Cinema
  • Josh Wilson | Wilson Worldwide Productions
  • Rachel Pendered | Media Zoo
  • Steve Evans | Natives
  • Tersha Willis | Terrible Merch
  • Will Chapman, Matt Martin & Ed Lewis-Pratt | Dinoski
  • Cath Jones | Sadler Jones
  • Darren Crockett | Do Digital Agency
  • David Banner & Richard Pring | Wales Interactive
  • Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees | Oseng-Rees Reflection
  • Jessica Morgan | Jessica Draws
  • Jordan Day-Williams & Dean Richards | C.O.B.R.A. Music

Food & drink entrepreneur of the year

  • Andrew Ligertwood | Drink Better
  • Martha Mackenzie & Petra Wetzel | Seltza
  • Michael Ballantyne | UWA Tequila
  • Rachel Morgan | Twelve Triangles
  • Ross Mackay | DARING FOODS
  • Vandana Vijay & Dhruv Trivedi | Bounce Back Drinks
  • Cecily Mills | Coconuts Organic
  • Edward Lofthouse | Harbour Brewing Co.
  • Lee Peacock | CUPP
  • Nick Bildner, Ben Lewis & Simon Ashburner | Pulsin
  • Paul Rostand | The Great British Biscotti Co
  • Tom Honey | Stoned
  • Bruce & Paramjit Nagra | Crazy Gin
  • Geeta & Reena Salhan | Green Sisters
  • Katherine Jenner | Burning Barn
  • Noah Geeves & Harry Stimpson | LIC Frozen Cocktails
  • Stefania Pellegrino | Purely Plantain Chips
  • Steve Perez | Global Brands
  • Tom Walker & Gaz Booth | Holy Moly Dips
  • Wendy Wilson Bett & Ian Tencor | Peter’s Yard
  • Alyson Archer | Simply Cheesecake
  • Carly Morgan | The Shire Bakery
  • Charlie Gibbs | Steampunk Spirits
  • Niall & Vicky McKay-Mount | Screaming Chimp Chili Sauce
  • Carol Banahan | Carol’s Stock Market
  • Michael Heaslip | Food Stories
  • Michele Shirlow | FoodNI
  • Noel Allen | Noisy Snacks
  • Tricia McNeilly | Otzibrew
  • Claire Harper | Muscle Moose
  • Dirk Mischendahl & Josh Lee | Northern Bloc Ice Cream
  • Edmund Wood | Cartmel Spirit Company
  • Lawrence Hill | Plant Power
  • Liam Manton & Mark Smallwood | Didsbury Gin
  • Maria & Mark Whitehead | Hawkshead Relish Company
  • Matt Farrell & John Ennis | Graffiti Spirits Group
  • Zach Pinfold | SODADA Kombucha
  • Alessandro Savelli | Pasta Evangelists
  • Charlie Bigham | Charlie Bigham’s
  • Jenny Costa | Rubies In The Rubble
  • Kevin & Kellie Bath | JimJams
  • Nick Coleman | Snaffling Pig
  • Olivia Wollenberg | Livia’s
  • Rachel Hugh & Neil Potts | The Vurger Co
  • Raissa & Joyce De Haas | Double Dutch Drinks
  • Cathy Harding | Cook Stars
  • Charlotte Williams | Lily’s Bake Box
  • Richard Pollentine | Sober Drinks
  • Sarah John & Roy Allkin | Boss Brewing Company
  • Sophie Tumelty & Lisandros Hajigeorgis | Meat And Greek
  • Tim Corrigan | milk&sugar

Scale-up entrepreneur of the year

  • Andrew Duncan | Soar
  • Mark Robinson | deltaDNA
  • Scott Weir | Pillow Property Partners
  • Andrew Clayton | Essential Training
  • James Hadley | Immersive Labs
  • Liam James & Matt Green | The iOutlet
  • Lorraine Dallmeier | Formula Botanica
  • Paul Wenham | Geometric Manufacturing
  • Richard Godfrey | Rocketmakers
  • Amelia Gillespie | ClubsComplete
  • Mike Harris | SiFi Networks
  • Steve Perez | Global Brands
  • Theo Millward | Swimtime
  • Wendy Shand | TotsToTravel
  • Fokhrul Islam | Northern Gas and Power
  • Jonathan Grubin | SoPost
  • Josh Gill | Everflow Group
  • Sarat Pediredla | Hedgehog Lab
  • Steven Rawlingson | Samuel Knight International
  • Charlotte Smith & William Vaughan | Bluefin Trading
  • David & John Barton | Quick Reach Powered Access
  • Gary Gallen | rradar
  • Jack Malin | Membr
  • Jamil Mawji & Faisal Lalani | National Care Group
  • Martin Port | BigChange
  • Ammad Ahmad | Atheneum
  • Avin Rabheru | Housekeep
  • Ben Jeffries | Influencer
  • Jonny Sitton & Daniel Price | My 1st Years
  • Markus Stripf, Tim Allen & Simon O’Regan | Spoon Guru
  • Paul Sulyok | Green Man Gaming
  • Priya Lakhani OBE | CENTURY Tech
  • Stephen Bourke | Echo Pharmacy
  • Alex Lovén | Net World Sports
  • Ieuan Rosser | Freight Logistics Solutions
  • Phillip & Mark Skinner | Ron Skinner & Sons
  • Rakesh Aggarwal |

Service industries entrepreneur of the year

  • Jack Francis | Pogo Studio
  • John Gordon | Incentive Games
  • Kieran Coyle | Premiership Experiences
  • Laura Chapman | Chapmans
  • Nick Findlay | City Room Rentals
  • Oliver Tidman | Tidman Legal
  • Callum Jenkins | ESNO Media
  • Helen Tanner | Data Cubed
  • Mick Lindsay | Mocean
  • Nicholas Brown & Philip Pearce | Accelerate Agency
  • Samantha Charles | Float Digital
  • Steve Witt & Paul Harrison | Not Just Travel
  • Abid Khan | Riverdale Insurance
  • Amrit Sandhar | The Engagement Coach
  • Craig McVoy | Beyond Brand
  • Peter Brodnicki | Mortgage Advice Bureau
  • Reiss Roberts | First Active 365
  • Stuart Anderson | eTravelSafety
  • Suzanne Burnell | Accelerated Success
  • Wendy Shand | TotsToTravel
  • Cathi Harrison | The Verve Group
  • Josh Gill | Everflow Group
  • Louise Burns | Nineteen Recruitment
  • Stephen Mallam | OnePoint Systems
  • Steven Rawlingson | Samuel Knight International
  • Daniel McGlade | Oroson
  • James Gumble & Matt Barnes | Xpand Group
  • John Harkin | Alchemy Technology Services
  • John Lorimer | FCS Services
  • Sinead Sharkey-Steenson | Generation Women
  • David Fidler | Front Row Music
  • Gary Tyne | Pro-Reliability Solutions
  • Jeremy Terry | Meesons A.I.
  • Lee Ali | Expo Stars Interactive
  • Marcus & Sam Naidoo | Shop Local Club Card
  • Michael Asher & Anthea Morris | Better2Know
  • Phil Eckersley | Bridgewater Home Care
  • Tom Pickersgill, James Doyle & Nick Groves | Broadstone
  • Alexander Limpert | GuestReady
  • Ashley Lawrence & Ben Adams & Trinnovo Group
  • Ben Prouty & Jan Vanhoutte | Shepper
  • Clare Henson-Bowen | Bespoke Wellbeing
  • Electra Japonas | The Law Boutique
  • Jean-Henri Beukes | Ecocleen Services
  • Matthew Connelly | ihateironing
  • Ranzie Anthony | Athlon
  • Andrea Callanan | Inspire Me
  • Craig Palfrey | Penguin Wealth
  • Dayne Hodgson | RedKnight Consultancy
  • Guy Last | Guy Last Recruitment
  • Lucy Cohen & Sophie Hughes | Mazuma
  • Nick Proctor | Amber Enterprises Group
  • Rob Dance | ROCK
  • Simon Bishop & Heather Morris | SHFoodie

Small business entrepreneur of the year

  • Andrew Bone | Airts
  • Emma Russell | pplrstrange
  • Grant Cardwell & Tracy Scott | XEYEX
  • Kristen & Ross Hunter | Whisky Framers
  • Laura Rennie | Arena HR
  • Scott Weir | Pillow Property Partners
  • Bethan & Joe John | The British Blanket Company
  • Grantley Rogers | 3P Enterprise
  • Liam James & Matt Green | The iOutlet
  • Paul Wright | Multibox
  • Rebecca Linnel | The Country Dog Hotel
  • Zac Cosgrove & Luke Draw | Cosgrove & Drew Engineering Services
  • Javan Bramhall | Digital Glue
  • Katie Clunn | Jiggy Wrigglers Franchise
  • Michael Dorsch | FIFO Wireless UK
  • Paul Bresnihan | Growth Partners
  • Stephanie Bennett & Lyndsey Hellyn | The Curiosity Approach
  • Tim Rookes & Neil Shaw | True MSP
  • Veejay Lingiah | Learning Labs
  • Yvonne Gorman | Essential Print Services
  • Brian Palmer | Cello Electronics
  • Craig Smith | The Printed Bag Shop
  • Laura Rothwell | Crystallised
  • Melanie & Frank Taal | TAALCO
  • Sophie Miliken | Smart Resourcing Solutions
  • Steven Katirai | ProForecast
  • Ashleigh Watson | Copper Square Communications
  • Niamh Taylor | Digital 24
  • Ryan Farren | BPMBuild
  • Thomas Glackin & Paul Nesbitt | Linenbundle
  • Tricia McNeilly | Otzibrew
  • Ade Molajo | CompareChecker
  • Daniel Owen | The Armstrong Partnership
  • Howard Carter | The Smokey Carter
  • Louis James Davis | VST Enterprises
  • Nathan Alexander | BODA SKINS
  • Nigel Barraclough | Qualsafe Group
  • Sarah Turner | Little Beau Sheep
  • William Forshaw | Maxwell-Scott
  • Damien Lee | Mr Lee’s Pure Foods Co
  • Dr Emer MacSweeney | Re:Cognition Health
  • Eloise Frank & Adam Chaudhri | The Big London Bake
  • Emma Sayle | Killing Kittens
  • Joloyn Bennett | Juice UK
  • Lily Simpson | Detox Kitchen
  • Max Henderson & Nick Higgins | Hotpod Yoga
  • Nicola Skowronek | Sheepers
  • Ali Al-Mufti | Arcadia Care Homes
  • Nigel Saunders | Sure Chill
  • Ollie Noakes | Boulders
  • Peter Ibbetson & Gemma Guise | JournoLink
  • Sarah Callaway & Michael Pitman | House of Callaway
  • Stephen Wornham & Carol Gillanders | Road Safety Designs

Start-up entrepreneur of the year

  • Brigitte Read | Snag Tights
  • Debbie Wake | MyWay Digital Health
  • Imogen Russon-Taylor | Kingdom Scotland
  • Michael Carr | GoRoadie
  • Sarah Downs & Yekemi Otaru | Doqaru
  • Volodymyr Levykin | Skyora
  • Alexander Young | Virti
  • Frances Lucraft | Grace & Green
  • Georgia Stewart | Tumelo
  • Harry Dennis | Waterhaul
  • Iain McFarnon | Socialight
  • Nathan McGurl | The Study Buddy
  • Amy Dixon |
  • Dominic Portman | DAPV
  • Felicity Cooper | Tatty Head
  • John Rosie | VetCare@Home
  • Joseph Housley & Connor Watt | Narce Media
  • Leo Scott Smith | Tended
  • Neera Sharma | Gifts for Little Hands
  • Sean Mason & Mark Green | Two Farmers Crisps
  • Carly Morgan | The Shire Bakery
  • Charlotte Bailey & Sean Ali | Super U
  • David Copple | Shine Interview
  • Joanne Miller & Matthew Rees | The Wandering Dog
  • Nick Danks | Madhouse Media
  • Sohrab Vazir | Interhousing
  • Daniel McGlade | Oroson
  • John Harkin | Alchemy Technology Services
  • Louise Houliston | Ninjadry
  • Mark Lilley & Richard McKnight | Groundswell
  • Peter McCaul | Péarlaí
  • Chris Renwick & Lucy Greenwood | Lucy and Yak
  • Gary Woodhead | CurveBlock
  • Heidi Adamson | The Last Staw
  • Michal Szlas | OTTY Sleep
  • Miriam Oldershaw | TubieeGo
  • Paul Austin | Heard
  • Richard Lang | Spok’d
  • Sean Brown | Mercarto
  • Ari Peralta & Ramy Elnagar | Arigami
  • Colleen Wong | Techsixtyfour
  • Digby Volrath & Hugo Campbell | Feast It
  • Elizabeth Tweedale | Cypher
  • Ishaan Malhi | Trussle
  • Myles Hopper, Giles Humphries & Robert Grieg-Gran | Mindful Chef
  • Nick Bennett & Gareth Fryer | Fika
  • Tom Gatzen & Rob Imonikhe | Ideal Flat Mate
  • Abigail Dymmock & Sophie Brown | Jack and Amelie
  • Dan Swygart | Alpacr
  • Gareth Jones & Mandy Weston | Town Square Spaces
  • James Chiffi | Beyond the White Line
  • Kelly Campbell & Sarah Symonds | Cardiff Pottery Workshops Foundation
  • Louis Halton Davies | Web Marketer
  • Malcolm Sloan | Sports Injury Fix
  • Toby Townrow, John Young & Clayton Earney | Drone Evolution

Young entrepreneur of the year

  • Carmen Cummiskey | FOMO
  • Evangelos Pappas | Ocyan
  • Fraser McIntyre | The Biscuit Baron
  • Helen Stewart | Badvo Distillery
  • Olivia Conlon | ThePropertyStagers
  • Yanik Nyberg | Seawater Solutions
  • George Howell | Ideal First Car
  • Josh Wintersgill | Able Move
  • Katherine George | Oh So Social
  • Tom Honey | Stoned
  • Tom Woollard | Bunk
  • Tommy Howard | Dog In A Box
  • Alex Archibald & Bethany Tomlinson | LYFBAR
  • Alexander Seery | Shifts to Success
  • Elliott Lancaster | Utter Rubbish
  • James Byrne | AccoutancyManager
  • Leo Scott Smith | Tended
  • Peter Watson | Distract
  • Samuel Leeds | Property Investors
  • Sophie Thompson & Dominic Barnard | VirtualSpeech
  • Ellen Hedley & Henry Coggin | Vida Creative
  • Isabella West | Hirestreet
  • Jonathan Grubin | SoPost
  • Jordan McCabe | Aztec Diamond Equestrian
  • Louisa Rogers | Trendlistr
  • Rachel Fay | Little Learners
  • Conleth McAlinden | Kaizen Strength Training Gym
  • Joshua Neilly | Fat Fish Marketing
  • Katie Matthews | MindTribe UK
  • Mark McGillion | Triex
  • Stephen Haughey | Ireland Before You Die
  • Adam Chandler | Reel Film Media
  • Charlotte Smith & William Vaughan | Bluefin Trading
  • Emma Powell | Epiony
  • Joseph Black & Oliver Jacobs | UniDosh
  • Josh Turner | Stand4Socks
  • Lucy Arnold | Lucy Locket Loves
  • Michael Johnston | Fed Enterprise
  • Ross Davies | Grown Urban
  • Frankie Thorogood | Thorogood Sports
  • George Sullivan | The Sole Supplier
  • Grace Beverley | TALA and B_ND
  • Harry Hugo | The Goat Agency
  • Kai Feller |
  • Peter Ramsey | Movem
  • Ross Testa | Yakety Yak
  • Sophie Lavabre Barrow | KINN Living
  • Alice Ojeda | Authentic House
  • Callum Griffiths | Clydach Farm Group
  • Carly Thompsett | Anaphase Store
  • Charlotte Wood | Charlotte Wood Design
  • Daniel Huxtable | Fightwear Store UK
  • Giorgia Rescigno | Letzshare
  • Jemima Letts | Tree Sparks
  • Joseph Ward | Smallspark Space Systems

Para copiar en España: programa de Wellcome Trust de reintegración en la carrera investigadora

Wellcome Trust tiene ahora abierto un nuevo programa – las Research Career Re-entry Fellowships – para investigadores que buscan retomar su carrera científica después de al menos dos años de pausa. Estas fellowships hacen posible desarrollar un proyecto de investigación de hasta cuatro años después de un tiempo largo fuera del sistema académico. Por desgracia Wellcome Trust solo financia organizaciones en el Reino Unido y en Irlanda.

Conseguir financiación para volver a la competitiva investigación académica después de unos años ‘desconectado’, sin publicaciones, puede ser casi imposible en el Reino Unido o en España. El camino profesional de muchos investigadores con talento puede verse cerrado para siempre al formar una familia, al atender a un familiar enfermo o al aceptar un puesto en la industria durante unos años, y sería buena idea que el sistema reconociera está realidad.

Estas fellowships de Wellcome permiten incluso planear un retorno a tiempo parcial, cubren salario y suplementos además de gastos de investigación, y no ponen un límite a la duración de la pausa en la carrera investigadora, pueden haber sido diez años o más.

Este programa pionero debería ser copiado y extendido en programas de I+D con financiación pública, adaptado en cada país conforme a las circunstancias locales, aunque solo pequeños detalles quizás necesiten adaptación. Las dificultades de la carrera investigadora son similares en casi todas partes lamentablemente en cuanto a las posibilidades de reintegración una vez se ha salido de ella.

Why training is the boss’s job

“Why training is the boss’s job” is the last chapter of High Output Management, a widely praised management book by former Intel’s CEO Andy Grove. I am moving jobs in a few weeks and stumbled on this book looking for something written on how to manage a research lab. The first chapter of the book explains how the same principles can be applied to understand and design any system with human beings. This was my first interest in the book, to use those general organisational principles into my new job. All of Mr Grove’s book is full of useful ideas explained in a characteristic straightforward style so easy to understand. His management proposals are also like that, simple and effective. The last chapter though is absolutely brilliant. Training employees should be a flexible, ongoing process and the direct responsibility of the boss, their primary management role. Even more in a knowledge based organisation. There are two different training tasks: teaching new employees the skills needed to perform their job, and teaching new ideas, principles, or skills to current employees. Not everyone needs training in the same way, some are better off being delegated, and others will need a hands-on manager that shows how to perform critical tasks. Realising who to train and what for – others and oneself – is the backbone of good management.

A good summary of this exceptional book can be found in this blog.

2019 ERC Proof of Concept call results

The ERC Proof of Concept grant scheme just announced its funded projects for the second 2019 call. In doing so it reached the 1000th project approved for funding since the scheme started in 2011. This programme is amazing in many ways. It is a great translational boost for good science all over the EU. It’s also a huge resource for intelligence on innovative ideas and leading researchers on almost any field. The ERC has an online search engine for all ERC funded projects that makes it easy to find projects by year or even by domain (not for PoC grants though).

For this round of the call 62 projects were selected for funding. I find interesting that the UK secured the most PoC grants with 10 and that many of the UK based projects are led by nationals from other countries. ​A full list of the newly funded projects can be found here.

Nuevos roles de gestión en la universidad

English version of this post here

(En la imagen: El uso de una bicicleta para transportar cubos de agua, al igual que tener un manager dentro del grupo de investigación, facilita el trabajo.)

En las universidades de todo el mundo la gestión de la actividad científica es difusa, distribuida en varios niveles entre agentes administrativos, académicos y nuevos roles de gestión. Después de casi cinco años en Glasgow mi impresión es que las estructuras universitarias en España y el Reino Unido son bastante parecidas, con estrategias de gestión en general centralizadas y sistemas elaborados de control, en contraste por ejemplo con el modelo emprendedor USA que prioriza al grupo de investigación y al investigador, y da mucha autonomía para desarrollar capacidades administrativas y de gestión a nivel de grupo o escuela. Quizás el sistema español está aún más al extremo que el británico en una visión de estructuras de gestión universitaria centralizadas, mientras que parece que en UK y otros países de Europa están apareciendo modelos mixtos en busca de una universidad con mejores ‘resultados’.

Hay en la universidad, otra vez más en la española que en otras, dos fuerzas en conflicto. Por un lado, un interés creciente en la planificación y control de la investigación, con el objetivo de centrarse en campos prometedores que podrían generar ingresos, prestigio y ventajas para la universidad, el país. Por otro lado, fuentes de financiación externas, colaboraciones y recursos que se gestionan de manera más eficaz a nivel de grupo, departamento o centro, y que la propia administración universitaria centralizada no puede abarcar de manera satisfactoria.

Con esta tendencia, progresivamente han ido apareciendo cada vez más puestos de gestión adscritos a grandes proyectos y determinados centros y grupos de investigación con una capacitación híbrida. Se contrata a personas con formación científica como especialistas en gestión de la investigación, un nuevo rol profesional que puede tomar decisiones en base a su conocimiento científico y del entorno social de la investigación. Algunos investigadores han visto una gran ventaja competitiva en incorporar en sus grupos gestores con estas capacidades y cada vez se ven más ofertas de trabajo similares. Varios ejemplos recientes de este tipo en UK:

Group coordinator – Cronin | Programme Manager – Stevens | Research Development Manager –  UCL | Project manager – Gouverneur | Business Development Manager – Derby

Se espera de estos nuevos gestores de investigación que participen de manera decisiva en la implementación de los objetivos estratégicos establecidos por los líderes de grupo, en la facilitación de proyectos de investigación y colaboraciones externas. Una diferencia notable entre la administración universitaria tradicional y esta nueva gestión de la investigación es la participación directa del manager en la planificación y ejecución de proyectos de investigación. Estos gestores de investigación están capacitados técnicamente en los campos en los que trabajan. Es muy interesante que en algunos casos se espera también un papel de mediación entre las dos fuerzas descritas más arriba. Son en parte agentes de la administración que evalúan el desempeño de los investigadores y reportan directamente a las estructuras centrales en su nombre, y a la vez son también sus representantes y defensores, haciendo todo lo posible para ayudar a cumplir objetivos de investigación. Este es seguramente el mayor reto de estos nuevos perfiles de gestión en la universidad.

English version from here

New management roles in the Spanish and British universities

(On the top picture: Using a bike to transport buckets of water, just as having a manager within the research group, makes work easier.)

In universities all around the world the management of scientific activity is diffuse, distributed at various levels among administrative agents, academics and new management roles. After almost five years in Glasgow my impression is that the university structures in Spain and the United Kingdom are actually rather similar, with mostly centralised management strategies and elaborate control systems, in contrast for example with the USA entrepreneurial model that prioritises the research group and the principal investigator, and gives quite a lot of autonomy to develop administrative and management resources within the group or school level. Perhaps the Spanish system is even more extreme than the British in a vision of centralised university management structures, while it seems that in the UK and other European countries mixed models are emerging in search of a university with better ‘results’.

In the university, again more in the Spanish than in others, there are two forces in conflict. On the one hand, a growing interest in the planning and control of research, with the aim of focusing on promising fields that could generate income, prestige and advantages for the university, the country, the EU. On the other hand, external sources of funding, collaborations and resources that are managed more effectively at the group, department or research institute level, and that the centralised university administration itself can not cover satisfactorily.

Pushed by this trend, progressively more management positions with hybrid skills have been appearing ascribed to large projects and certain centres and research groups. People with scientific training are hired as specialists in research management, a new professional role that can make decisions based on their scientific knowledge and the social environment of the research. Some researchers have seen a great competitive advantage in incorporating these profiles into their management groups and more job offers of this kind are seen. Several recent examples in the UK:

Group coordinator – Cronin | Programme Manager – Stevens | Research Development Manager –  UCL | Project manager – Gouverneur | Business Development Manager – Derby

These new research managers are expected to participate decisively in the implementation of the strategic objectives established by the group leaders, in the facilitation of research projects and the pursue of external collaborations. A notable difference between traditional university administration and this new management of research is the direct participation of the manager in the planning and execution of research projects. These research managers are technically trained in the fields in which they work. It is very interesting that in some cases a role of mediation between the two forces described above is also expected. They are in part agents of the administration that evaluate the performance of the researchers and report directly to the central structures in their name, and at the same time they also are their representatives and defenders, doing everything possible to help meet research objectives. This is surely the biggest challenge of these new management profiles.

Evaluación de la investigación y de los investigadores

Hay en las redes estos días mucha discusión sobre un estudio reciente de los investigadores Michael Fire y Carlos Guestrin que concluye que las métricas que se usan para medir el éxito académico, como el número de publicaciones, el número de citas, el factor de impacto, el índice h, han dejado de ser mecanismos enteramente eficaces para comparar unos investigadores con otros y para administrar ciencia.

Los motivos por los que esto ha ocurrido parecen fijados en las bases del comportamiento humano y difíciles de evitar. Como se describe en la publicación hasta hay una ley en ciencias sociales que los describe y predice.

Pero si no usamos las citas en publicaciones científicas, ¿qué usamos?

No hay que renegar seguramente del todo de las métricas de publicaciones, pero sí tener en cuenta sus crecientes limitaciones y según para qué conviene pensar en usar otras herramientas complementarias para poder tomar decisiones más acertadas. En la publicación de Fire y Guestrin se propone explorar otros indicadores de citas más imparciales, indicadores que por ejemplo eviten dar el mismo peso a todas las citas, que no relacionen el impacto de una publicación con el factor de impacto de la revista que la contiene, que no se usen entre distintos campos, que tengan en cuenta el problema con las auto-citas, las revistas que publican de manera repetida a los mismos autores, etc.

Además de nuevos indicadores basados en citas, por mi parte creo que habría que utilizar otras herramientas ya disponibles.

En la evaluación de los investigadores, i.e. procesos de selección de nuevos contratos, oposiciones a puestos permanentes, evaluación de actividad (sexenios, trienios, etc) se podría dar más protagonismo a las entrevistas personales, hacerlas más y mejores. Una entrevista es subjetiva y estresante, pero muy eficaz para entender el nivel de dominio de una materia por parte de un candidato. Por ejemplo las prestigiosas ERC grants de la EU se deciden en su última fase de evaluación en una entrevista frente a un panel. Un sistema parecido, en apariencia más subjetivo, podría ser en realidad más justo que el actual para la evaluación y selección del personal docente e investigador en las universidades.

En la evaluación de propuestas de proyectos de investigación, cuando los organismos públicos tienen que decidir a quien dar o no financiación, hay de hecho ya una tendencia a no solo evaluar la excelencia científica, y cada vez más se les pide a los investigadores también una identificación y planificación de la generación de impactos más amplios. Entender cual es el impacto de su actividad de I+D se ha convertido para los investigadores académicos y las instituciones que los albergan en parte fundamental de su estrategia de investigación. Esta es una nueva visión de conjunto que poco a poco el mundo de la ciencia va incorporando de manera práctica a la actividad de investigación. El problema es que es difícil medir y más aún predecir el impacto de los resultados de investigación a corto plazo, hay pocos expertos en un campo determinado que puedan dar una opinión fundada, por lo que el uso de los planes de impacto para los procesos de evaluación de propuestas de proyectos es aún ineficiente y poco útil como complemento a los indicadores de excelencia pasada basados en citas. En los últimos años se ha ido incorporando de todas maneras, y por ejemplo en los proyectos del Plan Nacional español el impacto científico-técnico de las propuestas se valora en un 10% a un 20% según el programa. La Unión Europea da un 33% a la sección de impacto en los proyectos de H2020. El REF británico, que mide el rendimiento de la investigación de las universidades británicas y decide una gran parte de su financiación, da un 25% de su puntuación según una medida de impacto (un paper muy interesante sobre la evaluación de impacto en el REF en este enlace). En todos estos casos los investigadores tienen que escribir informes convincentes del impacto esperado de sus propuestas de investigación, idealmente con una mezcla de narrativa e indicadores numéricos. En el futuro creo que se irá dando más importancia a esta evaluación del impacto esperado. Se podría pensar en mejorar los paneles de evaluación con más expertos en impacto. Hay una discusión en este punto de si los organismos financiadores podrían apoyar más al investigador para articular una visión del impacto de su investigación. Quizás deberían haber mecanismos para que los investigadores académicos pudieran coordinar con los organismos financiadores su estrategia de investigación desde el punto de vista del impacto socioeconómico, para mejorar el reparto justo del presupuesto disponible para investigación y maximizar su retorno.

Aprovechar a los investigadores españoles en el extranjero para fomentar la innovación en la industria española.

En estos cuatro años de trabajo en Escocia me han impresionado los programas de Innovate UK y Scottish Enterprise y su papel en una industria farmacéutica y biomédica próspera. En este post escribo mis notas y pensamientos sobre cómo aprender de su experiencia, para proponer una nueva estrategia que promovería la innovación en regiones de baja industrialización, como la mayoría en España.

A la ciencia académica española le cuesta mucho conectar con el tejido industrial del país. Creo que España podría utilizar con un objetivo de interfaz entre universidad y empresa a los muchos laboratorios en el extranjero dirigidos por españoles. Me gustaría ver, con financiación nacional y regional española, un programa similar a las Knowledge Transfer Partnerships de Innovate UK que aproveche a los muchos investigadores españoles en el extranjero para fomentar la innovación en la industria española. El programa ayudaría a las empresas a crecer vinculándolas con un académico español en el extranjero y proporcionando fondos al menos para un graduado, que llevaría a cabo un proyecto de transferencia de conocimiento y conexiones personales de un laboratorio en el extranjero a una empresa española.

No puedo evitar comparar el sistema de ciencia del Reino Unido con el español. Son tan diferentes y en teoría con el mismo objetivo. Cada vez que viajo a casa entro en discusiones sobre porqué la ciencia y la innovación españolas se quedan atrás con respecto a otras economías del primer mundo. El problema es complejo y ha sido estudiado a fondo. Las soluciones son conocidas. Se sabe que la financiación pública es demasiado baja para tener impacto real y que la estructura del sistema a muchos niveles va en contra de la innovación. Varias características alimentan negativamente al sistema español: inversión muy limitada en ciencia básica, poca masa crítica de clusters de industria local, deficiencias estructurales en el reclutamiento y promoción del talento académico, recursos financieros limitados para el emprendimiento, programas gubernamentales que son una pesadilla burocrática. Sorprendentemente, los investigadores españoles parecen ser reclutados con entusiasmo en todo el mundo. El número de investigadores españoles en el extranjero ha aumentado rápidamente en la última década, y existen redes establecidas en muchos países, como esta en el Reino Unido.

La deserción de las instituciones públicas.

Es casi imposible mejorar el rendimiento cuando el presupuesto nacional de I + D público de 2018 reserva solo 2.800 millones de euros para la financiación directa del sistema público de investigación, y el presupuesto total de 7.000 millones de euros se infla enormemente con préstamos para I+D industrial que pocas empresas solicitan. Es esclarecedor y triste comparar estos esfuerzos con los de otros países de la UE. Alemania gastó – no presupuestó, sino que realmente gastó – 26.500 millones de euros en I+D financiados con fondos públicos en 2015, y la industria alemana gastó 61.000 millones. El Reino Unido gastó £ 10.900 millones de libras esterlinas en I+D pública en 2016, su industria 22.100 millones. Desde el punto de vista español, el Reino Unido es, en mi opinión, más comparable y merece un análisis más profundo. El Reino Unido ha logrado favorecer con bastante éxito la I+D industrial en la última década, incluso con un presupuesto público de I+D per cápita no muy alto en comparación con otros países con un PIB similar. Además, España y el Reino Unido tienen solo alrededor del 20% de su PIB proveniente de la actividad industrial, mientras que Alemania tiene cerca del 30%. Desde la crisis de 2008, el Reino Unido ha logrado mantener la proporción de su sector manufacturero e industrial, mientras que España lo ha visto disminuir preocupantemente.

Los Kelpies en Falkirk, al noreste de Glasgow. Un monumento en una nueva extensión del Canal Forth y Clyde «destinado a celebrar el papel del caballo en la industria y la agricultura».

La crisis económica de 2008 golpeó duramente a España, y sin embargo, ya deberíamos tener un presupuesto más alto para I+D. El último Informe de Competitividad Global 2015-2016 califica a España en el lugar 37 en el pilar de la Innovación, mientras que por PIB per cápita estamos en el lugar 30. Me parece que podríamos mejorar el apoyo al desarrollo basado en ciencia e innovación. A veces no puedo evitar pensar que quienes tienen el poder de tomar decisiones no creen que la innovación pueda fomentar el progreso en España, y en realidad están tratando de ‘gastar’ el menor dinero posible. Creo que muchos funcionarios del gobierno entienden el problema, pero han llegado a la conclusión de que no con los mecanismos actuales no habrán un retorno de la inversión de la innovación o no lo verán a tiempo para que valga la pena. Han visto estrategias que, en teoría deberían generar desarrollo regional, no funcionar en las regiones españolas con baja industrialización o tener un impacto escaso en las regiones españolas más competitivas.

Obviamente no es una propuesta que funcione sola sin una mayor financiación en I+D, pero tal vez para fomentar el desarrollo industrial España podría intentar aprovechar la ventaja de contar con miles de excelentes científicos españoles en muchas de las mejores instituciones de investigación del mundo.

Open access for grants

I just found out about the Open Grants website, built upon a very interesting idea: to share grant proposals openly with the public, with other researchers; to «open up science so that all stages of the process can benefit from better interaction and communication and to provide examples for early career scientists writing grants.»

Sharing a grant proposal with everyone once is funded or rejected should have several advantages, for the individual researcher and specially for the science system. For an early career researcher writing a first fellowship or a team writing a difficult multi partner proposal, the chance to have examples of previously funded proposals in the same program is certainly very valuable. The Open Grants site has a database with about 150 proposals so far, so not in every program or funder around, but I would be curious to see the growth of this if the site starts to be more known.

Open access for scientific papers is a known publishing model that continues to grow because of critical advantages and few disadvantages. Funders could consider extending the model to open access grants, which I think would help improve the quality of the grants submitted, it would work as another channel to help researchers understand the particular needs of the funders and their programs, and it would help disseminate best practices in all aspects of science.