School of Chemistry - Business Partnership Unit
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Introducing the Business Partnership Unit Team



Welcome to the School of Chemistry Business Partnership Unit (BPU) Website. Our experienced team aims to stimulate and support innovation at the academic-business interface, building mutually beneficial partnerships between the School, Business, Industry and the Community.

We provide a focus for the business activities of the School, initiating and supporting a variety of novel, flexible approaches to knowledge exchange, entrepreneurial training and technology transfer including a portfolio of patented technologies available for out-licensing and technology platforms which form the basis of spin-out company formation. We focus particularly on addressing the needs of the Chemistry-Using Industries.


About the BPU


Chemical Innovation Laboratory 


Chemical Analysis at Nottingham

The School of Chemistry BPU was launched in 1999 and is responsible for co-ordinating, supporting and developing the commercially related, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurial activities of the School.

The BPU also draws upon the resources of the Universities central business support structure (Research Innovation Services and the Business Development Network) linking with academic and business support staff within other Schools and units across the University.

The BPU acts as a focal point for enquiries from companies and external organisations, helping to match their needs with the capabilities of the School.

The BPU is responsible for identifying research with commercial potential, maintaining the patent portfolio and promoting collaborations with industrial/commercial partners to help bring these technologies to commercial reality.

The BPU provides advice, guidance, training and support for staff and students in key aspects of Business Practice, Innovation Management and Intellectual Property.



Dr Trevor Farren - Business Development Director


Telephone: +44 (0) 115 84 66175
Dr. Farren is an experienced scientist, business development professional and commercial manager. He has over twenty years experience gained within both industry and academia of taking innovative concepts to commercial reality.

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As a senior manager with the Courtaulds Group (later Acordis PLC) he led business development activities within a wide variety of chemical, fibre and polymer products businesses and initiated several new ventures both within Europe and the USA. In 1999 Dr. Farren and his team were awarded the Akzo-Nobel prize for commercial innovation.
Dr. Farren joined the University of Nottingham in 2001 to set up a Business Partnership Unit; the first such unit to be embedded within an academic School of Chemistry. The Unit aims to generate an entrepreneurial culture among staff and students and strengthen links with industry. In this role he has initiated and managed a complex portfolio of research, knowledge transfer and outreach projects which have generated over thirty patents, several licenses and numerous interactions with industry. Dr. Farren has also initiated several innovative training courses in business / entrepreneurial skills aligned to the Chemistry Using Industries.
Dr. Farren has been responsible for the formation of four spin-out companies. He chaired the board of directors of CellAura Technologies Ltd. and has successfully led the company through two investment rounds. Dr. Farren also acts as a director / professional advisor to three other businesses. He also leads the Chemistry Innovation Laboratory project, which promotes links between the School and regional SMEs.
Dr. Farren is a keen champion of knowledge transfer. He has mentored over twenty post doctoral Business-Science Fellows, helping to develop their innovation and entrepreneurial skills. Many of these individuals now hold key positions within industry or as knowledge transfer professionals.
Outside of his professional commitments, Dr. Farren is a strong advocate of the performing arts, chairing the board of trustees of a registered charity that encourages individuals to play musical instruments and to bring music to a broad cross-section of the public.


Dr Nick Bennett


Telephone: +44 (0) 115 95 13418
I joined the University of Nottingham in February 2012 to manage the ChemEnSus project. 

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I joned the University of Nottingham in February 2012 to manage the ChemEnSus project. This multi-partner collaboration is focused on the application of coordination chemistry to the generation of new multi-functional porous materials to deliver high impact scientific and technological advances, and provide innovative solutions for many of the key issues of the 21st Century around climate change, and environmental and chemical sustainability. ChemEnSus will develop new materials for hydrogen and gas storage, sieving and purification, for carbon capture and chemical reactivity, and for applications in sensing. As a member of the Business Partnership Unit, I am responsible for identifying new industrial partners and seeking commercial opportunities to exploit the research outputs from the ChemEnSus project.
I have eight years’ experience of working within business and academia having previously been employed by AstraZeneca, Peakdale Molecular and Birmingham Science City. Prior to these positions I completed my PhD at University of Nottingham under the supervision of Professor Gerry Pattenden.


Dr Joe Dawson


Telephone: +44 (0) 115 74 86268
I manage a number of projects across the Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy and also coordinate incoming analytical services rendered activity in the School of Chemistry.

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After the completion of my Ph.D in 2009 I spent the following 3 years as a post-doctoral research scientist and laboratory manager. Over my research career I principally focussed on the synthesis and characterisation of biocatalysts towards the clean production of hydrogen. I have always concentrated on research which had potential industrial application and through this I gained an interest in the commercialisation of research.
This interest led to my career change from research scientist to my current role working in technology-transfer in the Business Partnership Unit as a Business Science Fellow. I previously worked on an European Research Council Proof of Concept grant to appraise the commercial viability of novel metal-organic framework (MOF) materials.
I now manage a number of projects across the Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy including a ERC RISE Programme – FutForm (Prof. Allen), EPSRC Impact Accelerator Account - Photochemistry (Prof. George and Prof. Sir Poliakoff) and DFID Capacity Building in Porous Materials (Prof. Mokaya). I also coordinate the incoming services rendered activity for the School of Chemistry and in this capacity I manage client relationships, devise and develop strategic analytical programmes and deliver business critical scientific outcomes for SMEs and large Companies. My role involves market appraisal, business engagement and intellectual property strategy.


Mrs Julie Dove


Telephone: +44 (0) 115 95 13653
I am the Business Administration Manager and have worked within the School of Chemistry since 1999. 

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I have completed a part-time BA (Hons) in Business Studies with the Open University. I joined Dr Farren in the Business Partnership Unit during my role of School Marketing Manager in 2012 to work on enhancing communications, web presence, and business process.  I am also responsible for the administration of all school research costing and applications, services rendered agreements, research contracts and consultancy and I am Project Manager for the European Research Development Fund project "Chemistry Innovation Laboratory". 


Dr George Marshall


George Marshall
Telephone: +44 (0) 115 74 86268
Following both an MSci in Chemistry and a PhD in bio-inorganic chemistry at the University of Nottingham I joined the BPU in 2016 as a Business Science Fellow in Coordination Chemistry. 

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My research background is as a synthetic inorganic chemist. As an undergraduate I carried out a Masters project on 'The Synthesis of Arene Bridged Lanthanide Dimers’ and following this I studied for a PhD examining the roles of metals in biology through the synthesis and study of transition metal coordination compounds based on the active sites of metalloenzymes. 
My interest in the activities of the Business Partnership Unit developed during my time as a PhD student through my involvement in projects with local companies. Following my PhD I joined the BPU team to work on an inorganic coordination chemistry project sponsored by an industrial partner which will focus on delivering next generation products to a global market place. 


Dr Sian Masson


Telephone: +44 (0) 115 74 84082
I joined the Business Partnership Unit at the University of Nottingham in October 2013 to work on the Chemistry Innovation Laboratory project. 

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I graduated from the University of Wales, Bangor in 2003 with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Environmental Chemistry, followed up in 2007 with a Ph.D. in Physical Inorganic Chemistry. My first postdoc position was also at Bangor participating in two European FP 6 projects researching the use of semiconductor metal oxides for air and water decontamination.  After, I took on a 6 month position as an Academic Officer that involved lecturing and organising events related to an RSC initiative called “Chemistry for our Future” with the aim to get children excited and enthusiastic about chemistry. In 2009 I took on a position at the University of Aberdeen working on a project in collaboration with Glasgow City Council on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). In 2010 I moved to Oslo, Norway to work for an SME, within the R&D department, on catalytic coatings for ceramic filters and membranes to be used for air purification.  Within my three years in the company my role evolved to include responsibilities in the production facility and in the writing and application of funding for collaborative projects (FP7 and Eurostars).

I joined the Business Partnership Unit at the University of Nottingham in October 2013 to work on the Chemistry Innovation Laboratory project. This project aims to aid small to medium enterprises within the East Midlands innovate and grow by providing access to academic expertise and facilities available within the School of Chemistry. This project is part funded by the ERDF. This position allows me to use my experience from working in an SME and as a postdoc on European Framework programme projects to foster and nurture collaborations between the University and regional SMEs.


Mr Tom McInally


Telephone +44 (0) 115 95 13197
Following a career in the Pharmaceutical industry as a Medicinal Chemist, with Fisons, Astra and AstraZeneca I joined the University of Nottingham in September 2011.

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My role as a Business Science Fellow is two-fold. Firstly to mentor 4th year MSci chemistry students who are engaged in a research project in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, to design and synthesise novel compounds targeted at a poorly treated respiratory target and secondly to use my knowledge and experience of industry in interactions with SME’s in the East Midlands.   
I have a broad knowledge of the key aspects of the drug discovery process and  recently have experience of working in collaboration with scientists in Japan, in the field of Toll Like Receptors (TLR) agonists. This research project  identified a compound now undergoing clinical trials as a novel treatment for allergic diseases. I also have a long standing interest and expertise in high throughput synthesis and purification equipment and techniques.
In the BPU I hope to be able to use my experience to maximise interactions with other academic groups and industrial parties especially in the field of drug discovery.


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Business Partnership Unit

School of Chemistry
University Park Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 74 86268