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Meet the team

Our specialist business development managers provide businesses and investors access to the best of the University of Warwick’s intellectual property (IP). We support technology development, license IP and create spin-out companies that retain close ties to the University’s expertise.

Dr Tim Hart, Director of Warwick Innovations

Tim has gained over 30 years’ experience in technology commercialisation, particularly from university environments, and in the life sciences. He has worked as an academic researcher, technology transfer professional, and entrepreneur, having spun-out and managed two investment-backed life science companies from university research, and advised in the formation and growth of many others.

He has held numerous executive and non-executive positions in technology SMEs and brings sector leading expertise in university spin-out formation and innovation management. His experience is truly international, having worked for and with some of the largest technology corporates and leading universities across Asia, Russia, Europe, North and South America, Australia, and Africa. Tim is committed to maximising innovation productivity and impact for the University of Warwick.

Francesco Maria Colacino, Innovation Development Manager

Francesco has extensive experience in Innovation and Technology Transfer, having dedicated his professional life to bringing innovations and scientific breakthroughs to market and, more importantly, nurturing individuals to become investable.

Holding executive positions, he has led the commercial development of technologies from laboratory settings to deployment into production plants, has expanded the commercial reach of spin-outs to national and international markets (Norway, Spain, Germany, USA), always building strong international teams of driven individuals. He has supported financing of ventures via a mix of revenue from sales, grant funding and venture funding.

Francesco has secured several million pounds in R&D grant funding from both the UK Government and the European Community and led the development and implementation of the IPR Quality Management System for National Programmes across the public and private sector.

Francesco leads the management of our technology transfer operations and IP portfolio, He is always happy to chat over a coffee and discuss about the things that matter in life... but also about those less important.

Dr Suzanna Wood, Business Development Manager

Originally a Molecular Biology Postdoctoral Scientist, Suzy spent some time in high-tech laboratory sales with a number of multinational biotech companies before discovering the world of university technology transfer.

Suzy learnt tech transfer at Oxford University Innovation (OUI), the technology transfer company of the University of Oxford and, before joining Warwick, was formerly a Consultant at Oxentia, delivering innovation strategy advice, training, and accelerator programmes to organisations around the world.

"I love meeting academics and hearing about their research, so tech transfer’s a great job for me. I find ways to help them get their new technologies out into the ‘real-world’, so they gain impact and recognition from their research and together we can make a huge difference to people and planet."

Suzy specialises in supporting Warwick Life and Medical Science researchers. In her spare time, Suzy spends a lot of time at swimming pools, either supporting her kids or officiating at competitions and, if she’s lucky, might actually have a splash herself.

Dr Josh Cartwright, Business Development Manager

After finishing a PhD in Chemical Biology at Warwick in 2017, Josh completed a short postdoctoral placement in 2018 before moving into professional services support. Josh joined Research & Impact Services at the University of Warwick in 2019, first as an Impact Coordinator and then as an Impact Manager. Through this Josh assisted with the REF2021 impact submission, with 9 out of 18 case studies under his care rated 4* (‘Outstanding’), in addition to project managing impact funds worth over £1.5m.

Josh joined Warwick Innovations in 2022, taking his professional expertise of research impact and applying it to commercial challenges. He manages the MRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), in addition to supporting Warwick Medical School, the Chemistry department and others.

"I always find it fascinating to hear about new research which can make a real difference in the wider world, and I really enjoy providing support so that it has the best chance of success. With Warwick Innovations, I get to do that every day – which is great!"

Outside of work, Josh is a big fan of movies and cooking, as well as being a board games enthusiast.

Joanna Bates, Academic Engagement & DTIC Manager

Jo joined the University of Warwick after spending over 25 years in technology and manufacturing multinationals, working in China and Europe and managing cross-cultural teams. She has extensive experience of marketing, project management and financial management in both large and small organisations. She was also a director of a video games development company, which afforded insight into the day-to-day challenges of running a small company.

While working for a social enterprise consultancy, Jo discovered she enjoyed supporting enthusiastic business founders, so welcomed the opportunity to join the technology transfer office in Warwick in 2019 as part of a project piloting collaboration between the Midlands Innovation Universities. Jo is active in the innovation community in the Midlands and is looking forward to seeing more talent and investment being drawn to the Warwick innovation ecosystem.

Jo volunteers with a dog rescue charity, so often has a foster dog at home in addition to her own three dogs.

Tim Francis, Business Development Manager

Tim has a background in the life sciences sector with a PhD in genetics. His early career included R&D in forensics as well as technology transfer at the University of Warwick. This was followed by four years at a technology consultancy working with multinationals, SMEs and the public sector to innovate and develop new products. Whilst there he also led a team of analysts producing bespoke technology and market intelligence for clients.

Tim then worked for a research council where he managed a large open innovation programme in partnership with global pharmaceutical and chemical companies. He moved back into the university sector in 2012, working in technology transfer at Coventry University and since 2019 at the University of Warwick. Tim has particular experience supporting the development and formation of spin-outs in the life science and medtech sectors, and leads a number of commercialisation programmes.

Outside of the University of Warwick, Tim regularly delivers commercialisation training outside of the University of Warwick on behalf of Praxis Auril

Dr Shum Prakash, Business Development Manager

After her BSc in Chemistry, Shum read for her PhD in Biochemistry and undertook R&D with Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Johnson Matthey Plc and Nihon Medi-Physics Co. Ltd to develop radiopharmaceuticals for cancer therapy and brain diagnosis. After which, Shum read for her MSc in Science, Innovation and Technology Policy and was a consultant at SQW Ltd, Technopolis Ltd, and at the European Parliament.

She joined Warwick Innovations in December 2001 and during her time here has completed her Executive MBA at Warwick Business School with a Sainsbury Management Fellowship Award. Shum has over 20 years direct experience taking a broad range of technologies from an idea to royalty generating commercial licenses and through supporting the trading of spin-out companies to exit. Shum welcomes interns into Warwick Innovations, delivers the Transferable Skills course in Business, Innovation and Commercialisation for researchers, and volunteers with the Birmingham Christmas Shelter and the RNIB.

Dr Brendan Spillane, Business Development Manager

After PhD research on DNA fingerprinting, Brendan embarked on a career in software sales and marketing, working for a range of blue chip companies, including New Brunswick Scientific, Pharmacia Biotech, PDI and Computer Associates.

In 2000, he turned his attention to business development, building substantial sales pipelines for a number of start-up companies. before specialising in supporting the commercialisation of digital technologies as a Senior Technology Transfer Manager at Oxford University Innovation Ltd.

Brendan has over a decade of experience at Warwick Innovations leading the commercialisation of digital technologies, specialising in software, databases, open source, and copyright protection issues.

Dr John Humphreys, Business Development Associate

John achieved his PhD at the University of Warwick in novel catalyst design in 2019, continuing this work in a Postdoc position with a strong focus on practical real-world applications. This led to him co-inventing a highly effective ammonia synthesis catalyst which is patented and licensed at an international level. He gained further insight into research commercialisation through his participation in the ICURe programme, gaining skills in customer discovery, market validation, identification of routes to market, and pitching to investors.

During this time John discovered a real passion for innovation, leading him to join Warwick Innovations in order to help others increase the impact of their research and make the leap from the lab to the real world.

“There is so much great research at Warwick being driven by a passionate community. Working with this community to support them as they take their innovation to industry is a fantastic experience with never a dull moment.”

In his free time John enjoys keeping active at the gym or relaxing with friends over a boardgame or movie.

Selina Forsythe, Office Administrator

Selina enjoys a diverse role at Warwick Innovations being involved in both technology transfer and the Innovate UK funded ICURe programme.

Having earned her Degree in Business Studies she built a strong foundation in the business world, specialising in purchasing within the car manufacturing industry.

In 2017, Selina embarked on a new chapter in her life by joining the University of Warwick, initially in Finance before moving to Warwick Innovations in October 2018.

Beyond her professional achievements, volunteering and giving back to her community is important to Selina. She believes in making a positive impact on the lives of others and actively engages in various charitable endeavours. One of the highlights of her volunteer work was her involvement in the Commonwealth Games in 2022. As part of this prestigious international event, Selina contributed her time and energy to support athletes, organisers, and the overall success of the games, leaving a lasting impression on all who worked with her.

In her leisure time, Selina enjoys spending quality moments with family and friends. She finds joy in exploring new places, immersing herself in different cultures, and cherishing the simple joys of life.

Dr Frances Pitt, Business Development Associate

Frances is a triple Warwick graduate with over 15 years of experience in system design, technology deployment and healthcare applications. Her background spans academia, private sector ventures and public service, providing her with a unique perspective and skill set tailored for innovation and development.

During her early academic research, Frances was deeply immersed in technical innovation, where she designed and built prototype sea-water cell capture devices. Her career transitioned into the private healthcare sector, where she focused on end-to-end system design and the commercial application of automated technology for precision diagnostics.

She played a pivotal role in the UK Government’s Project Jupiter, which evolved into the Rosalind Franklin Laboratory (RFL), significantly expanding national SARS-Cov2 testing capacity to 300k samples daily. She oversaw the core infrastructure build, ensuring the transfer of mass screening technology into an end-to-end clinically validated process.

Her expertise extends beyond the scientific space to effective stakeholder management, strategic planning, and scientific leadership. Through her work with the UK Health Security Agency she has established a Technology and Innovation working group to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration on key national infrastructure projects.

Within Warwick Innovations Frances focuses on supporting research commercialisation from Life and Medical Sciences.