Prof William Kilgallon named as Reading’s first Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence

In January 2021, the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy (SCFP) welcomed Professor William (Bill) Kilgallon as the University’s first Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR). In this role, Prof Kilgallon will spend one day per week delivering transformation in the commercialisation of research within SCFP and more broadly across the Agriculture, Food and Health research theme.

The EiR scheme is designed to provide our research community with access to world-leading expertise and advice across multiple industry sectors to:

  • expose university staff and students to state-of-the-art industrial research and development, and the scientific challenges faced by industry
  • provide support and expert advice aimed at promoting innovation and the translation of research by universities
  • grow confidence in and understanding of business and entrepreneurship among staff and students


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In his role, Prof Kilgallon will:

  • Lead discussion with colleagues across SCFP and broadly across the university, including department seminars to introduce and develop engagement with the scheme
  • Work with our community to develop a greater understanding of how to recognise and manage potential commercial research opportunities.
  • Support entrepreneurial and commercial upskilling of students, academics and professional services staff.
  • Create a model business development system that better defines and accelerates the routes to market for emerging commercial research initiatives, this will have initial impact in SCFP, but working closely with colleagues in Knowledge Transfer Centre the impact will be University-wide.
  • Enable access to his personal network of contacts to better develop collaboration and partnering opportunities with wider stakeholders and institutions.
  • Work with senior leaders and key stakeholders to identify opportunities to enhance Reading’s translational research portfolio
  • Increase the visibility of the UoR within the business world and foster engagement with local industries in the context of business growth and regeneration.

Early in his career Prof Kilgallon completed a post-doc at UCLA where he worked at the interface between the University and local medical diagnostics companies, this led to a 30-year career which has encompassed biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies. He has a breadth of practical experience of product development, market launches and economic business planning. This has included the development and commercialisation of routine diagnostic tests, global drug development following the purchase of technology from a small UK biotech company and more recently, business turnaround of a £5M company leading to an exit strategy valued at £80M. Prof Kilgallon has an understanding of the academic environment from both his early career and now as he continues to work closely with Donau University, Austria where he lectures and coaches on their MBA Biotechnology.

Professor William Kilgallon PhD MBA FCIM said:

“It’s a real pleasure and a unique challenge to be the new RS EIR for the University of Reading. I’ve already met a some of the talented people at the university and hopefully I can facilitate a radical transformation in the commercialisation of research and accelerate ideas to market.”

Read more on the Royal Society website

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If you’re interested in getting involved or would like to see how you can collaborate with the Knowledge Transfer Centre, please get in touch.

Lights, camera, ACTION!

Hollywood has a new home, and it’s in the Thames Valley.

University of Reading is in discussions with American film company Blackhall Studios to build a £150m complex in the heart of the Thames Valley. With the proposed compound to be built as nearby-neighbours for the already present Thames Valley Science Park, this exciting new studio will bring a vast array of benefits to the area, including a suggested 3000+ jobs.

“These are exciting proposals that would focus the future of Thames Valley Science Park around key areas of expertise at the University of Reading” – Samantha Foley

The studios are intended to reflect the institutional priorities of supporting excellence and environmental sustainability at University of Reading, and create countless opportunities in the local area.

The next stages will be for the University of Reading to liaise with other stakeholders on how a broader vision may look at Thames Valley Science Park, including these areas of innovation. The University of Reading will submit a response to the Wokingham Borough Council Draft Local Plan in light of this feedback and a review of technical and need considerations.

Any further developments would look to encourage closer engagement with local communities, schools and organisations, as well as students and staff at the University of Reading, providing opportunities for training and careers in a variety of fields of economic importance to the UK economy.

For any questions regarding this new development, please visit the TVSP website.

Digital Donkeys

As our department and our reach continues to grow, we are elated to announce our newest Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Devon-based international charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.

The Donkey Sanctuary and the University of Reading have established a new and exciting relationship to help the Sanctuary tackle some key areas of their business and help them to continue the incredible work they’re doing in Sidmouth. More details about this excellent new partnership will be released in the form of case studies as the project commences.

We are extremely excited to be part of this collaboration and, let’s be honest, getting to spend some time with some very cute animals.

Are you a lover of animals AND technology? Applications for a talented Digital Technology Development Lead to join this project and the donkeys in Sidmouth are still open. You can find out more and apply right here


This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The BRAND NEW home of AI in the Thames Valley

We are proud to be part of all our collaborations and work tirelessly with all our partners, helping with their growth, impact and reach. One of the new collaborators we’re extremely excited about working with is the TVAI Hub, the home of AI in the Thames Valley.

The Hub has been created to pull together the incredible community of academics, researchers, technologists, clinicians and business strategists here in the Thames Valley so everyone can learn, network, collaborate, share knowledge, explore and develop business opportunities and partnerships.

Starting in December 2019, they are hosting a series of events, each featuring a highly influential speaker and covering key areas of AI, Machine Learning and Big Data. Members of the community will be able to register and attend these free of charge.

Their aim is to get this area internationally recognised for the talent, skills and expertise that has given rise to its reputation as the ‘UK’s Silicon Valley’, and of course to attract more brilliant people and companies to the beautiful, well connected area that is the Thames Valley.

You can read more about the TVAI Hub right here.

Why choose Reading? Don’t just take our word for it!

Our new(ish) Director…

It is with huge pleasure and enormous congratulations that we announce that our former Head of the Knowledge Transfer Centre, Dr Susan Matos, has now been promoted to Director!

Susan has been at the top of the KTC family for over 14 years and has continued to work tirelessly with stakeholders at all levels across the University of Reading. Her hard work and dedication epitomise what the Knowledge Transfer Centre is all about, enforcing our promise to support and connect people, businesses, and not-for-profit organisations in order to create a positive global impact.

Dr Matos will continue to lead the Knowledge Transfer Centre, supporting a range of collaborative projects with businesses and other external organisations, as well as taking on new and exciting directorial responsibilities in her prosperous new role.

Congratulations Susan!

What a year!

As 2019 slowly drifts to an end, we can fondly reflect back on a fantastic year full of wonderful successes not just for us, but also for the University of Reading and all the incredible people and organisations we have been lucky enough to collaborate with over the course of the last 12 months.

We’ve had lots of incredible highlights throughout 2019, and one of the main ones was the expansion of our team. We carefully hire people who will thrivingly integrate within our KTC family and who share our mentality of bringing excellent service and expertise of the highest calibre to those we work with.

We have welcomed three new members to the family this year:

  • Chrissy Boulton joined us initially as a temporary member of staff for the GradSpire student recruitment scheme back in March, but in doing such a fantastic job she stayed with the KTC and is now our Commercial Project Development Manager, working closely with the Commercial Director and other departments on exciting new projects and collaborations across the University.
  • Clare Stratford joined us having previously been part of another team at the Thames Valley Science Park. Bringing a huge breadth of knowledge and a very positive energy to our team, Clare is now our Business Networks & Projects Coordinator.
  • And last but not least, Marianna Spanoyannis joined us in October as our KTC Project Administrator. Marianna oversees administrative support for all the Knowledge Transfer Centre’s projects and external collaborations, and has brought a passionate and energetic atmosphere to the business support team.

Unfortunately we also had to say goodbye to our former KTC Administrator, Diana Reynell, who left us in August. After 13 years as a valued and much loved part of the family we were sad to see her leave but wish her every success and happiness in her future endeavors.

Some other activities we’re elated to shout about are all the collaborations we’ve continued with or freshly established over the course of the year. Not only are we still taking on some fantastic Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, with some new ones already in motion and others to start in the new year, but we have also brought various non-KTP projects to the table. This has included (but is not limited to) the really interesting collaboration with the environmentally minded Eco-Insect (you can watch their case study here), and US-based media streaming company WorldCast Live (you can also watch their case study here). One of our partners, Aircharge, with whom we had a project to develop their wireless charging technology, featured on Sky News back in February, which was a fantastic achievement for them, and we felt very proud to see them getting exposure for their hard work. We have stayed true to our promise of working with all different types of people, companies, and not-for-profit organisations, and have taken pleasure in learning all about the amazing research being conducted all around the country.

Additionally, we have taken part in some great competitions this year, including the YES (Young Entrepreneur Scheme) with University of Nottingham which celebrates the entrepreneurs of the future and raises awareness among postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers of how ideas from science and engineering can be commercialised. We are heavily involved with this competition every year, and although no University of Reading teams made the final this year (a shame considering we won it last year!), we will continue to support this fantastic scheme in 2020. The ‘just imagine if…’ competition created by Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley was also a huge success and something we were hugely involved with, and will continue to be part of when the University of Durham host next year. Having helped Ella’s Kitchen get off the ground and become the huge success it is today, it was truly brilliant to be able to work with Paul in creating such a large-scale competition as this, helping bring people’s ideas of making the world a better place come to life.

We have enjoyed many successes and worked with some incredible people in 2019, and with that we’re extremely excited to see what 2020 will bring. Thank you to all those we have collaborated with or who have helped us in making 2019 the fruitful year it was, but for now all that’s left to say is that we wish everyone a wonderful Christmas break, and here’s to a prosperous new year!

With warmest regards

The Knowledge Transfer Centre at University of Reading

Our newest team member

It is with great pleasure that we can announce the arrival of our newest team member, Marianna Spanoyannis.

Marianna has joined us as our new KTC Project Administrator and will be overseeing the administrative support for all our projects and external collaborations. She has hit the ground running, and has already established herself as an integral cog in the KTC machine.

The KTC continues to build on our team in order to offer better support to our collaborators, both existing and in the future. We strive to give everyone we work with an exceptional experience, and welcome enquiries about how we may be able to collaborate with other businesses, academics, organisations and individuals to support with growth and expansion. Marianna is the latest team member to take on our promise of exceptional service.

Welcome Marianna!

A new collaboration with old friends

Two departments at the University of Reading (Computer Science and the KTC) have recently teamed up to complete an Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership with High Wycombe-based tech company Optimal Monitoring.

Optimal Monitoring provide energy management advice to companies and through their recent Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Centre, have developed a unique AI Energy Management Solution which not only helps businesses identify abnormal and anomalous energy and utility consumption but also suggests solutions to fix the issues. This exciting technology, known as ‘EMMA’, will particularly be of interest to large multi-site companies (such as retail chains) where it’s not worth paying a consultant to analyse the data for each site but an automatic tool can prove very cost effective.

Optimal Monitoring and their product have earned their position as finalists in the Wright Commission Awards for 2019, and possess the only energy management software which has made it through to the final. This award nomination has already generated media coverage, and we wish Optimal every success in taking home the trophy.

The first collaboration was so successful that we are extremely excited to announce a second Knowledge Transfer Partnership to continue developing the software, and maintain our excellent working relationship with such an exciting and innovative company.


Are you a talented Data Scientist looking for an exciting new opportunity? As part of this new partnership between UoR and Optimal Monitoring we are hiring a KTP Associate which you can apply for here.

This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

In conversation with Paul Cartwright of EcoInsect

Earlier in 2019 Paul Cartwright got in contact with the Knowledge Transfer Centre looking for support with his prototype. Since then, and with the help if the KTC, Paul has both applied for and been awarded an Innovate UK Smart Grant and got his company EcoInsect to the next step.

We caught up with Paul to discuss his experience:

How did you hear about the Knowledge Transfer Centre?

As a start-up, EcoInsect is currently in the R&D phase; we’re designing an automated prototype production facility to breed and grow insect larvae. We’re focussing on two core product lines and so we were looking for potential collaborators to help us trial and validate our products prior to commercial launch. In my search for universities with a strong biosciences department, I came across the University of Reading and in reading more about the establishment it quickly became clear that Reading had the expertise we needed.

How was your original contact managed? Did it meet your expectations?

I was immediately introduced to a member of the Knowledge Transfer Centre team, and within two weeks I had been introduced to two Academics specialising in animal diets and gut health. All three of them expressed a strong interest in the project and we’ve been really fortunate to have such great support from the get go. I was not previously aware of the collaboration avenues available to businesses like ours, but we were provided with all the information we needed to work with the university and our options were clearly outlined.

Can you talk us through your experience of the process?

The process has been both helpful and really beneficial. After a series of initial meetings, we were able to match various resources together and were then offered their full support in the application process to Innovate UK.

Did you feel supported during the application?

We have felt very supported during the entire process. The KTC have facilitated all the meetings and we have benefited tremendously from the fact that they have previous experience with submitting Innovate UK applications. The Academics offered invaluable guidance on developing our research and getting the best outcome in validating our products.

Did you encounter any challenges? If so, how did you overcome them?

Start-ups face a lot of challenges, and we are no exception, however these challenges provide invaluable lessons in evolving the business. Our main challenge in this process has been the fact that our first application to Innovate UK was not successful. However, after review of the Innovate UK feedback and encouragement of the team we felt it was worth giving it another go. Innovate UK rules only allow for one opportunity to re-apply for the grant so it was a risk for us, but fortunately with the right support and expertise we were successful on our second application.

Would you recommend getting in touch with the KTC to other companies?

I would certainly encourage other companies to use this resource. In my case my expertise is not in research, and being a new sector, research is key to the evolution of the business, and without the expertise and support from the team I’ve been lucky enough to work with it’s very unlikely that we would have been successful, and it’s been key to our business.

How does working with the KTC compare to any other mechanisms you may have explored?

We did have the option to go to through another consultant firm who offered to draft the application on our behalf. Aside from the cost, something just didn’t feel right, and we really didn’t see any increase in benefit that was not already provided to us by the KTC, so we felt there was no need to work with any other resources. Innovate Smart Grants are extremely competitive.

How confident did you feel it was going to go through? How were your expectations managed?

We believe what we’re doing has the potential to revolutionise various sectors and markets, so we were confident in our business case. It was daunting to compete in such an open contest across multiple sectors, but with the support and the encouragement we received from the KTC we had the confidence to go for it and I’m glad that we did.

How excited are you for the next steps, and how are you preparing for them?

The next 18 months are going to be a huge challenge but we’re really looking forward to the next steps and continuing our partnership with the Knowledge Transfer Centre. We’re working hard on the research areas in the hope that we can expand to commercial scale in 2021.

Do you feel that you would have got to where you are today without the support of the KTC?

We strongly feel that without the support and the expertise made available to us by the Knowledge Transfer Centre in a very competitive market for the Innovate UK grant, that we probably wouldn’t have been successful. Without a successful application, we wouldn’t have been able to launch our business, so for us it’s been a huge win and we’re very glad that we were lucky enough to find and link up with the KTC team.


We filmed this interview, which you can watch here.

A PDF of this interview is available on our website here.

You can read more about how the Knowledge Transfer Centre can help you and/or your business growth on our website:


The YES Competition 2019

YES, or the Young Entrepreneurs Scheme, s an innovative global competition developed to raise awareness among postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers of how ideas from science and engineering can be commercialised.

Founded by the University of Nottingham, YES has an alumni of over 5000, and stages a competition whereby postgraduate students & postdoctoral researchers prepare a business plan for a hypothetical company. Designed to deliver business awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship, the YES competition is an excellent opportunity for students to be exposed to the commercial world and have the chance to attend the final in London’s Royal Society.

You can watch our video covering the 2018 final here.

You can also find out more about the competition and how you can get involved here.

YES is organised jointly by The University of Nottingham’s Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship(HGI), the  Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).