Roger Killen receiving his Royal Society EiR award from Prince Andrew.

Sparking entrepreneurial spirit

Roger Killen has recently joined the University of Exeter in the role of Royal Society, Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR). The prestigious appointment was announced on Tuesday 20 March at the Royal Society’s annual Labs to Riches dinner, with awards presented by Prince Andrew. Roger received the award alongside Professor Rob Lee who will also be based at Exeter.

Roger is an electrical engineer and has a wealth of experience in the fields of healthcare, data analytics and technology. As a self-declared serial entrepreneur, he has started up and developed businesses for more than 25 years. Remarking on the new role Roger said: “It feels an honour and privilege to be awarded the EiR grant. Recognition from the Royal Society inspires confidence, and equally a sense of responsibility to provide a valuable contribution through the term of the award."

The Entrepreneur in Residence posts were awarded to nineteen successful businesspeople to support UK universities. They will develop closer links between universities and industry, enabling the transformation of innovative ideas into commercially successful products and services. Roger explained: “Each of my businesses have linked academic discovery with impactful and spreadable applications.” The post provides a sustainable way to build on my experiences and share some of my learnings.”

Roger will be based at the Living Systems Institute, Exeter’s world-class, next generation, collaborative research community to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

John Terry, Professor of Biomedical Modelling at the University of Exeter, said: “It is fantastic news that Roger will be able to spend time with us here in the Living Systems Institute. Roger’s experience and expertise, particularly in the healthcare domain, will be an invaluable resource for us.”
Speaking about his new project and what makes the EiR role standout Roger said: “I have worked with spin-out projects from the University, and have found that my passion for commercial discovery is a powerful compliment to the academics’ discovery process in research.  Having a regular presence at the University will provide a much broader access to talent and ideas.”

Roger is delighted with the new opportunity and is keen to make an impact: “I will be pleased we can point to more successful businesses spun-out from local scientific discoveries; we can establish an entrepreneurial dimension to many undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and we can identify more of the University talent moving into career roles in the region.”

Roger enjoys working in healthcare and the reward gained from his mentoring roles. He commented: “I have found great personal reward from working on projects that deliver social impact as well as commercial return.”

Outside of his day job, Roger has an interest in music: “Most of my current projects are healthcare oriented, but over the years I’ve been seen performing around Exeter on stage or in choirs.  With my children studying music and drama, maybe there’s time for a family venture in the creative industries?”

Roger will funded to spend 20 per cent of his working time in residence over the next two years, sharing his expertise and experience with students and staff.

Date: 29 March 2018

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