School of Chemistry - Business Partnership Unit

Introducing the Business Partnership Unit Team


Welcome to the School of Chemistry Business Partnership Unit (BPU) Website, where our experienced team stimulates innovation by building mutually beneficial partnerships between the School, Business, Industry and the Community.

Our Business Partnership Unit (BPU) is a team of Knowledge Exchange professionals and Business Science Fellows (BSF) who focus on developing the School’s business and impact related activities. The focal points for the BPU are; to provide specialist advice, to broker new relationships with industry, to facilitate technology disclosures, and to secure investment for our industry-facing research and commercialisation.

Since 2013, the BPU has trained 12 BSFs, who received mentoring from KE professionals, academics, entrepreneurs and industrialists. Our 30+ BSF alumni include two company CEOs and four patent agents, who identify commercial opportunities and support the training of current BSFs.

Meet the Team

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.


George Marshall
Dr. 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 and now manage the Chemistry Innovation laboratory and coordinate Services Rendered activity across the School.

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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 a project sponsored by an industrial partner which will focussed on delivering next generation products to a global market place. Following this I begun to manage a portfolio of projects with a range of businesses and now coordinate both our incoming Services Rendered activities and the Chemistry Innovation Laboratory, both of which support businesses of all sizes to work with the University on collaborative projects.


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.


Dr. Katherine Jolley
Telephone +44 (0) 115 95 86007

I joined the School of Chemistry as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Education, Faculty of Science in 2019.

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I completed MChem degree at the University of Bath including an industrial placement year at GSK Stevenage within Research and Development. Following this I completed my PhD on the development of novel ruthenium catalysts for asymmetric hydrogenation applications at the University of Warwick with Prof. Martin Wills and industrial collaborators. I gained experience of flow and process chemistry via postdoctoral positions at the Universities of Leeds and Southampton, again working closely with industrial partners to develop novel synthetic methods for useful transformations. Following this I returned to GSK for a short time working on the development of a novel antibiotic, before taking up a teaching position at the University of Nottingham in 2019. Within the School of Chemistry at Nottingham, I teach organic chemistry and also business and entrepreneurial skills for undergraduate and apprenticeship programmes and is also the School Careers Officer. My research interests centre on chemical education and teaching innovation. Current projects are focussed on the incorporation of green and sustainable chemistry principles into the undergraduate laboratory curriculum.

Dr. Maria Raja Sanchez

I joined the BPU in January 2022 to support and enhance technology transfer and knowledge exchange between business and academia. I am currently responsible for managing Nottingham Analytical, which delivers technical services to large enterprises and SMEs.

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My main missions are to grow Nottingham Analytical capacity and capability to assist businesses and create new connections between The University of Nottingham and industries.

I also manage a portfolio projects at the academic-business interface, liaising with enterprises and handling commercial expectations. My main duties are industry-academia engagement, developing suitable analytical methodologies to solve unusual and challenging scientific problems relevant to industry, ensure projects are delivered in a timely manner, preparing high quality reports and supervising technicians.

My academic background is as an analytical chemist and environmentalist. I studied Chemistry at the University of Barcelona. Next, I did a MSc in Analytical Chemistry and joined the pharmaceutical company Almirall S.A. Then, I did a PhD and postdoc at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology in the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB). My interdisciplinary research studied global climate and ocean dynamics.

Tom Ward
Dr. Tom Ward

I joined the BPU in 2021 as a Business Science Fellow to support the delivery of Chemistry Innovation Laboratory (CIL) project, offering direct support to SMEs in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire area to receive access to expert analysis and world class chemistry facilities, supporting their business development.

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I now manage a variety of service projects with companies ranging from sole traders to multi nationals. Using my expertise in complex method development, problem solving and analytical/synthetic chemistry to deliver high quality research for our customers.

I also support Nottingham Research Chemicals, taking novel compounds that have been made within the school using cutting edge research and getting them to market through our partner Key Organics Ltd, where they are available for purchase as high quality synthetic building blocks and reagents.

I obtained my PhD in organic synthesis from the University of Nottingham in 2019, researching the total synthesis of the marine alkaloid Halichlorine. After completing my studies I joined the Covid-19 lighthouse screening laboratory in Loughborough, supporting the pandemic effort as a deputy supervisor in the specimen processing and accession teams. In 2021 I returned to the University of Nottingham, joining the BPU as a Business Science Fellow.


Harry Taylor
Dr. Harry Taylor
Telephone: +44 (0) 115 748 6268

I joined the BPU in 2022 as a Business Science Fellow managing the University of Nottingham’s Protein Footprinting Service. The service provides an effective way to map the regions of a protein’s structure which bind to other proteins or small molecules.

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I joined the BPU in 2022 as a Business Science Fellow managing the University of Nottingham’s Protein Footprinting Service. The service provides an effective way to map the regions of a protein’s structure which bind to other proteins or small molecules. Understanding these binding sites forms a critical part of the development of drug candidates, biotherapeutics and agrochemicals. The technique uses a chemical label which irreversibly reacts with the accessible surface area of the target protein. When the target protein binds to another protein or small molecule, the binding site becomes less accessible to the chemical label, and this change can be detected through chemical analysis techniques. We work with a number of different businesses around the world to perform Protein Footprinting on their products currently in development.

 After completing a master’s degree in Chemistry in 2017, I worked for contract research organisations performing LC-MS/MS analysis in the Pharmaceutical and Agricultural industry. In 2018, I returned to academia to complete a PhD at Nottingham Trent University. My PhD project focused on the development of a novel acoustic ambient ionisation source for mass spectrometry. During my studies, I was introduced to the field of proteomics, which led me to my current role at the University of Nottingham. In addition to my role within the BPU, I am a member of the organising committee for the Exploratory Measurement Science Group (EMSG) Ardgour Conference.


Dr. Gunjan Sharma
Telephone +44 (0) 115 74 86268

I joined the BPU as a Project Manager in June 2023 and I am responsible for managing a diverse portfolio of projects.

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I joined BPU as a Project Manager in June 2023 and I am responsible for managing projects such MAST3RBOOST, Prosperity Partnership with Lubrizol and the university of Warwick, and Prosperity Partnership with Croda and the university of York, involving academic and industrial partners from UK and abroad. Broadly, I Support the principal investigators by managing the projects allocated, by reporting to the funder and communicating to stakeholders to achieve project deliverables.

I obtained my PhD in the research area of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in 2016 from the National Institute of Plant Genome Research, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. I moved to Plant and Crop Sciences division at the University of Nottingham in 2016 as a BBSRC research fellow to understand the oxygen sensing mechanisms in plants via N-degron pathway of targeted proteolysis with a broader aim to engineer flood resistant crops. In 2022, I joined Biosciences department at the University of Birmingham as an ERC research fellow to understand the epigenetic basis of flooding memory in plants. Out of work, I like to read latest advances in plant biology and enjoy cooking.


Ms. Lucy Silvey


I joined the BPU in December 2023 as a Business Science Research Assistant to support service rendered work with businesses, audit and support academics with their research, and promote engagement in outreach activities.

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I support a range of service projects, solving a variety of problems for businesses. This often involves using various spectroscopy and chromatography methods to deliver tailored research to clients in the form of high quality reports.

I obtained a MChem (with a year abroad) from the University of York, completing my Masters year at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. My research focussed on the use of a novel inorganic nanoparticle for cancer therapeutics, specifically for photothermal an immuno therapy. I developed an interest in the business-academia interface after studying a module titled “Technology and Business Strategy in the Chemical Industry”, which underpinned my decision to join the BPU. Outside of work, I am a figure skater and enjoy playing musical instruments.


Contact the BPU


Business Partnership Unit

School of Chemistry
University Park Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 74 86268