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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

New Entrepreneur in Residence will help spin out Life Sciences research

Published: 18 June 2018

An experienced business man and entrepreneur with a successful background in science will help develop new enterprise skills and commercialise the world-leading research within the Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS) through The Royal Society’s Entrepreneur in Residence scheme.

James Otter will share his extensive expertise with staff and students over the next two years with a particular focus on identifying, developing and expanding spin-out companies. He will be working to develop people’s business skill set whilst mentoring researchers who are new to the commercial world.

James is one of 19 enterprising business people appointed by The Royal Society to spend 20 percent of their working time in residence at UK universities and one of two based at the University of Southampton. Dr Adam Hill, lead data scientist at HAL24K, will be offering support in Physics and Astronomy.

James said: “I am thrilled to have been selected by The Royal Society to be one of the first participants in the new Entrepreneur in Residence scheme. I already have a positive relationship with the IfLS, a place where I have enjoyed working in the past. There is a lot of fantastic potential within the Institute and a lot of talented people. I hope that my advice and guidance will ensure the great research that is already happening, is able to provide real benefits to people through being commercialised”

Professor Peter Smith, Director of the IfLS, said: “We are delighted that James will be working alongside our staff and students where we will all be able to benefit from his business expertise. With his input we will be able to maximize our reach and develop more spin out companies which will broaden the impact of the research. ”

James graduated with a Natural Science degree from Cambridge University before going on to hold senior international positions at Zeneca Agrochemicals.  Since Zeneca he has worked with smaller technology and bioscience companies, often on an interim basis to help turnaround, refinance and stabilize them, providing a sound platform for future growth. He has an MBA from INSEAD and has a Non-Executive Director position on the board of Apollo VCT (Venture Capital Trust).

He added: “This is a very exciting development from The Royal Society. They recognise that people with commercial experience need to help young entrepreneurs and what better place to start than a university that is bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. There are a number of great projects already happening at the University of Southampton, however to spin out a company and progress it to financial independence can be difficult. To have someone in place that has experience in that area and helped companies get through difficult times and grow, shall be very useful. I am looking forward to getting started.”

The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, set up the Entrepreneur in Residence scheme to support UK universities in translating their world-leading research into new businesses and commercial products. The individuals were chosen, by Fellows of the Royal Society and experts in the field, based upon their industrial and entrepreneurial experience and the impacts they could have on their University, its staff and students and the wider economy.

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