Midlands Mindforge Appoints Industry Experts to Scientific Advisory Council

Midlands Mindforge Appoints Industry Experts to Scientific Advisory Council

Midlands Mindforge, a patient capital investment company for university spinouts and other early-stage IP-rich businesses in the Midlands, has unveiled its Scientific Advisory Council (SAC).

The members of the SAC will lend their deep knowledge and experience to support the Company’s future investment activities, as well as act as ambassadors for the Company. 

The SAC members are academics from across Mindforge’s eight partner universities (the institutions within the Midlands Innovation partnership). Each brings industry-leading expertise in the sectors in which the Company will focus its investment; Life Sciences, GreenTech, and DeepTech. The SAC members will also play an important role in sharing appropriate information with the Company about research innovations being undertaken across the partner universities in the Midlands. 

The Inaugural members of the SAC are:

  • Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam, Senior Strategy Advisor to the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham. He was formally Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was knighted in 2022 for his services to public health.
  • Professor David Haddleton, Professor of polymer chemistry at the University of Warwick. He has over 35 years of industry and research experience in his field, collaborating with corporates and SME businesses alike and has founded two university spin-out companies in the Healthcare area.
  • Professor Anna Hine, protein engineering professor at Aston University. Her own research into non-degenerate, selective saturation mutagenesis has successfully been commercialised and is widely used. She was formerly chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council follow-on fund.
  • Professor Robert Mokaya OBE FRS, materials chemistry professor and ProVice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) at the University of Nottingham. He is a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holder (2017 – 2022), was appointed OBE in 2022 for services to the Chemical Sciences, and is a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).
  • Professor Chris Brightling, fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Senior Investigator for the National Institute for Health Research, and respiratory theme lead for Leicester University NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. His research focuses on improving the clinical management and understanding the immunopathogenesis of asthma, chronic cough, COPD, and long-COVID.
  • Professor Christine Foyer, plant sciences professor at the University of Birmingham. She is a member of the French Academy of Agriculture, and in 2022 held the Janaki Ammal Chair of the Indian Academy of Sciences.
  • Professor Peter Scott, chemistry professor and Academic Director, Business Partnerships at the University of Warwick. His spin-out company, based on his research in catalysis, manufactures a unique recycling technology, and he has developed one of Warwick’s largest industry partnerships.
  • Professor Yulong Ding FREng, Founding Chamberlain Chair of Chemical Engineering and Founding Director of Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage. His research into liquid air energy storage technology has been commercialised by a leading UK energy engineering company.

Dr Lisa Smith, CEO of Midlands Mindforge, said: “The Scientific Advisory Council will play a strategic role in aiding the success of Midlands Mindforge’s mission to translate research from the lab into successful businesses. I am delighted we have gathered these world-leading researchers to lend us their expertise and support us in identifying innovations that will build the businesses of the future.

“The SAC will be an important part of our wide-reaching relationship with our partner universities to identify and nurture IP-rich investment opportunities and unlock untapped potential in the region.

“The talent that makes up our SAC demonstrates the broad range of world-leading research from our partner universities. The science and technology generated in the Midlands is incredible. We want to unlock that potential, building successful businesses that solve real-world problems. In doing this well, Midlands Mindforge will have a positive impact on our society and economy”.

Professor Karen Holford, CBE, Chair of Midlands Innovation, said: “I am delighted that Midlands Mindforge has announced such a broad range of leading academic experts in their fields who also have experience in commercialisation of research.

“The announcement of the Scientific Advisory Council is another important step in the formation of Midlands Mindforge, which will help attract investment into IP-rich businesses in the region and build upon the deep foundations of collaboration of Midlands Innovation- a partnership of the eight leading research-intensive universities of the Midlands.

“The Government has an aspiration for the country to become a Science Superpower, gain economic growth and level-up the economic performance of UK regions. The Midlands Mindforge Scientific Advisory Council will play a significant role in helping Midlands Mindforge to invest in the region’s top potential growth companies of tomorrow.”

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