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In April 2018, Oxford University Innovation (OUI) announced the launch of an Innovation Champions Trial Scheme. Innovation Champions are representatives from within the University's four divisions who aim to improve the landscape for innovation and entrepreneurial activities. These Champions all have first-hand experience of OUI services and act as a point of contact for colleagues interested in commercialising their ideas or expertise, or developing links with industry, whether through consulting or research collaboration.

They provide initial advice and mentoring to their colleagues (of all levels of seniority, including students) and are responsible for ensuring their colleagues understand who to contact in OUI when they have an enquiry.

The Medical Sciences Division has four Innovation Champions who can act as an interface between departmental staff and colleagues in OUI. If you are interested in learning more about commercialising research or the Oxford innovation landscape, don’t hesitate to contact one of the Champions (further details below).

susannah murphy, department of psychiatry 


Why did you get involved in the OUI Innovation Champions scheme?

My research involves interactions with pharmaceutical industry and OUI have been incredibly helpful in supporting me with this work. When OUI launched the Innovations Champions scheme they approached me and asked if I would be willing to be the link with the Psychiatry Department, and I was delighted to do so. I was already informally supporting colleagues with informal advice and this was a useful way of formalising that process.  

What does being an Innovation Champion involve?

It is essentially acting as a link person between your Department and OUI. I attend regular meetings at OUI to learn more about the work that they do. The focus of my activities within my department has been to to raise the profile of OUI within the Department - so that people are more aware of who they are and how they can help. This has involved inviting OUI to give a presentation in our departmental research meeting and come along to key departmental committee meetings. We have also set up system where a representative from OUI works from a 'hot desk' in the Department once a fortnight. This arrangement provides easy access for researchers, students and support staff to talk to OUI about intellectual property, licensing and venture formation, software commercialisation, academic consultancy or entrepreneurial activities more generally.

What kind of things should people get in touch with you about?

Anyone who is thinking about whether it might be helpful to involve OUI in a project - I can provide initial information about how OUI might be able to support the project and who the best person in OUI is to get in contact with.  

Get in touch with Susannah

Teresa Lambe, Jenner institute (Nuffield Department of Medicine)


Why did you get involved in the OUI Innovation Champions scheme?

I completed the OIS Fellowship Masterclass, last year, and was subsequently enthused to help raise awareness of the varied and many activities of OUI and to contribute to the further development of a culture of innovation within my department.

What does being an Innovation Champion involve?

Innovation Champions have all had experience of OUI services and can act as a point of contact for colleagues interested in commercialising their ideas or expertise. OUI Innovation Champions act in a facilitatory capacity and are a valuable interface between departmental colleagues and staff in OUI. 

What kind of things should people get in touch with you about?

Anything to do with innovation or commercialisation of research activities!

Get in touch with Teresa 

James cantley, department of Physiology, anatomy and genetics

jamescantley.jpgWhy did you get involved in the OUI Innovation Champions scheme?

We are fortunate at Oxford to have a very successful tech transfer office in OUI, as well as an academic population increasingly engaged in innovation and commercialisation of research. However, the scale of our organisation can present some challenges when navigating the resources and channels to develop, protect, and commercialise research. I chose to become an OUI Innovation Champion to help bridge this gap, and to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at the University.

What does being an Innovation Champion involve? 

As an Innovation Champion, my goal is to improve connections between researchers at DPAG and OUI, using three approaches. First, to increase awareness of OUI’s activities and services, and to highlight how these services can help our research. For example, how to access advice on intellectual property, patenting and licensing, and to highlight funding streams available for commercially-relevant research from proof-of-concept through to spin-out. Second, to help connect departmental researchers with the relevant contacts at OUI. Third, to improve communication between DPAG and OUI, for example by sharing feedback from the department at our regular Innovation Champions meetings. The goal is for every department across the Division to host an Innovation Champion, which we hope will further enhance research and innovation at the University.

What kind of things should people get in touch with you about?

Anything related to innovation and commercialisation of research! Drawing from my own experience, I am particularly keen to hear from researchers with early stage ideas, to help them access resources to evaluate, develop and fund these ideas. But really I am open to discussion with anyone keen to engage with the wide range of support and resources available at OUI and the wider University.

 Get in touch with James


The Division's fourth Innovation Champion is Ahn Phan Phi, who is based in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences.

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