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Elen Wade-Martins - Innovation Project Manager

Dr Elen Wade-Martins has recently taken up the exciting challenge of managing the new BioEscalator, which is currently under construction on Old Road Campus. Read on to find out how you can become part of the entrepreneurial community that Elen hopes will flourish around the BioEscalator. 

Tell us a bit about your background

While working on my postdoc at MIT, I became passionate about how you get ideas out of labs and making a positive impact on society, so I changed career direction to do just that. I have worked at Begbroke Science Park, the Said Business School and OUI, always helping scientists to move their ideas towards application and commercialisation. Although I only started in this new position in November, I was involved, as a consultant, during the business planning stage for the BioEscalator.

What is the BioEscalator?

It is flexible, high-quality lab space for early-stage biomedical businesses, which benefits from being close to the University’s medical research departments and local NHS hospitals. The BioEscalator will also be a hub for collaborative research between University researchers and industry. We are at a very exciting point now: the building is nearly watertight, we are now inviting applications for space and we are planning everything carefully so that the BioEscalator becomes a flagship innovation centre for biosciences.


What will be inside the BioEscalator?

Our Innovation Labs are shared spaces for individuals and companies to rent one or more benches on a flexible basis; more established companies may choose to rent their own small lab. Either way they will have access to shared core facilities (chemistry, tissue culture, -80℃ and LN2 storage, a cold room and waste/glass wash), which will be maintained by our Lab Manager, Dr Khwaja Islam, and a community space with hot desks. We also hope to create an entrepreneurial community around the BioEscalator, so the people working there  will be surrounded by like-minded, focused innovators and the support that they need to succeed. 

When will you start taking applications for space?

We are just about to open an initial round for applications  for start-ups – if anyone is interested, now is the time to get in touch. The building will be handed over to the University in August this year and tenants will be moving in from September.

What will success look like for the BioEscalator?

A buzzing, entrepreneurial and collaborative community, where companies thrive and the products they develop make a positive impact on healthcare.


To contact Elen about space, e-mail

Keep up to date with BioEscalator activities on Twitter - @BioEscalator