Understanding the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

In this briefing you will hear from Mike Biddle the Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Operating Officer, and Director - Strategy for Innovate UK and Melanie Welham, the Executive Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

They will discuss the role of UKRI, Innovate UK and the BBSRC, while also giving an update on wave 3 of funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

About the speakers:

Mike Biddle,  Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Operating Officer, and Director - Strategy, Innovate UK

Mike is Portfolio Development Lead at Innovate UK. He has responsibility to help develop and deliver innovation programmes that will accelerate economic growth in our priority areas for the benefit of UK business.

Previously he was leader of the Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) which is responding to the societal challenge of the demographic shift. Mike was also President of the Ambient Assisted Living Association which had similar aims and goals as part of a pan-European investment activity worth over €600m.

Mike joined Innovate UK in July 2007, in his first role he co-authored the UK strategy for Electronics, Photonics and Electrical Systems in October 2008. Prior to this Mike worked in the Photonics industry for twelve years after graduating with a Masters in Physics from Imperial College, London.

Mike is also a Chartered Physicist with the Institute of Physics.

Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

Professor Melanie Welham was selected to be the Executive Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) when UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) came into being on 1 April 2018. Before April 2018 Melanie was interim Chief Executive of BBSRC having previously served as Executive Director, Science for BBSRC. Prior to this, Professor Welham worked at the University of Bath as Professor of Molecular Signalling and was the first woman to be appointed a professor in her department.

Melanie is a leading researcher in molecular signalling and stem cell science. She obtained her first degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College London before undertaking a PhD at UCL. Until September 2011, she was co-director of the Bath Centre for Regenerative Medicine where she oversaw the activities of this interdisciplinary centre.

Earlier in her career, she was awarded a BBSRC Research Development Fellowship, which enabled her to develop and pursue new research directions. She moved from the study of signalling in white blood cells to seeking to understand the fundamental mechanisms controlling the behaviour of embryonic stem cells.

Melanie has a well-developed understanding of the requirements and demands of delivering BBSRC research and the interface between the Council and the research community. For more than four years she served on BBSRC peer review committees, including periods as either chair or co-chair. Professor Welham also served on the advisory committee for the UK National Stem Cell Network from 2009-11.


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