How to work with industry – your Faculty support team

We’re Stephanie Morris and Vjera Magdalenic-Moussavi and we share the role of Director of Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation (IPC) FoM. Our job-sharing at this senior level is, we think, currently unique within the College, but we hope that we are proof that it can and does work really well!

Many of you might know Vjera from her days as head of Corporate Partnerships for the faculty, a role she’s held since 2013. Vjera went on mat leave in October 2018 and Stephanie stepped in to take the reins of the team. And what a time to join -it’s been a bit of a wild ride for the past year, excitingly driven by the internalisation of all intellectual property management and commercialisation activities with industry being brought back in to College. However, it all worked really well, and we’ve decided to continue working together and share this important job.

What is your background?

Vjera: I’ve got a PhD in immunology from Edinburgh and a first class degree in Molecular Biology from University of Zagreb, my home town. I’ve been at the interface of academia and industry, innovation and translation since I graduated from Edinburgh in 2005. Imperial is a fascinating place to do this job, it is truly where some of the greatest minds meet some of the most exciting industry problems.

Stephanie: I’ve been in research and industry for 20+ years across academia, R&D, clinical development and commercialisation, having worked within start-ups, SMEs and big multinational pharmaceutical companies. With tertiary qualifications in biomedical science and in business, a MBA and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, translating medical science is definitely a sweet spot for me. After relocating to London from Australia, I am incredibly thrilled to be working with the inspiring and talented team that is Imperial!

What is IPC?

IPC stands for Industrial Partnerships and Commercialisation. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The team as it is now was formed by merging of the technology transfer team from Imperial Innovations into the Faculty of Medicine Corporate Partnership team in March 2019.

This means that our remit has expanded and we are now mandated to support ALL of your industrial interactions. And it’s all in-house. Imperial Innovations no longer exists.

That’s great, but what do you actually do?

When we say, “we are here to support ALL your industrial interactions”, we do mean all. No question is too small, no query is unimportant. There may be cases and times that we won’t be able to assist, but we will give it a very good go.

This can be anything and below are some examples:

  1. Assisting in finding a placement for your undergraduate or postgraduate students
  2. Securing an industrial partner for an iCASE studentship
  3. Letters of support for translational research grants
  4. Finding a partner for your grant applications
  5. Finding a suitable partner, defining and delivering a collaborative research programme
  6. Understanding your research to guide you through the options for protection of your IP – not everything is protectable, however it is still IP and we have ways in which we can help commercialise it
  7. Managing of your IP portfolio – this means maintaining any patents, marketing them for licensing or partnering
  8. Driving commercialisation of your IP – this can be looking for a licensing partner, or defining an alternative such as a spin out
  9. Spin out formation and this can be anything from light touch assistance and guidance through to taking the lead on spinning out a company with your IP, finding investors, coaching you through the process, putting together a team who would take the company forward.

And anything else that might pop up. Not all industrial interactions are standardised in procedures and we will look at every opportunity on a case by case basis and offer as much or as little support as you feel you need.

What we feel is very important is that we are on this journey with you and we will be clear

And how would you know what’s the right thing for my research?

On a general level, we work very closely on a daily basis with the research strategy teams as well as research managers in each of the departments to ensure we are jointly supporting your research journey.

We are also part of the Dean’s management group and this helps us get exposure to the overall direction of travel of the Faculty and mould the industrial strategy accordingly. We are in regular contact with departmental Heads and Managers to do the same on a more granular level.

However, the best way for us to get to know your research is to talk to you. Over  the past 12 months, we were going through a transition period with very few staff members, but now we are a full team, with capacity to come and talk to you at all our campuses. We are in the process of setting up regular clinics on different campuses, but don’t wait for those – do get in touch with us.

We look forward to working with you!

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