Elliott Jennings is a Business Manager at LifeArc, where amongst other activities, he supports Medical Research Council scientists to identify and commercialise research generated in several MRC institutes.
What were you doing before you joined the Tech Transfer programme?
I was a researcher at Imperial College London in the field of infectious diseases having just completed my PhD. My research focused on characterising virulence factors of the pathogenic bacterium Salmonella Typhimurium and spanned various fields including molecular and cellular microbiology as well as structural biology.
What attracted you to the programme?
I had been interested in pursuing a career in technology transfer since I was introduced to the profession at a careers event early in my PhD. However, when I started looking for a position during my final year, I found that there were very few entry-level opportunities – most positions I saw advertised required at least some previous experience in the profession.
When I saw the Fellowship being advertised, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to gain on-the-job training in technology transfer while giving me a chance to build a professional network. I was also attracted by the ability to gain experience in four leading technology transfer offices (TTOs) which support the commercialisation of research from some of the UK’s leading scientists.
What were your first impressions when you started your first rotation?
I spent my first rotation working with LifeArc’s Opportunity Assessment Group where they analyse the potential of new and existing biomedical opportunities. In the first few weeks, I was made to feel welcome and was quickly included in the activities of several departments. I was struck by how willing all my new colleagues were to share their knowledge and experience.
What were your highlights of the Fellowship?
Two experiences that stand out include shadowing an Investment Principal from the LifeArc Seed Fund as they evaluated a potential investment in an early-stage biotechnology company. I also enjoyed attending several board meetings and a strategy meeting for a Queen Mary, University of London, spin-out company. Both experiences were unlike any that I had while working in academic research and highlighted to me the various career paths available to those wishing to move away from the bench.
How has your career progressed after the Fellowship?
After completing the Fellowship, I moved into the role of Business Manager at LifeArc. In this role, I support Medical Research Council scientists to identify and commercialise research that is generated in several MRC institutes including the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, the MRC Harwell Institute and the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator.
How has the programme helped you with your career?
The Fellowship was a fantastic introduction to the industry and exposed me to a range of new technologies, ways of working and TTOs – each of which work in a slightly different way. The contacts that I made and the network I began to build during the Fellowship has also been one of the lasting outcomes of the programme.
How would you describe the programme to your peers?
The LifeArc Technology Transfer Fellowship is a one-year programme that aims to equip scientists transitioning out of the laboratory and into technology transfer, with many of the skills required to enter the profession. From day one you will be exposed to leading academic research scientists and innovative research projects with commercial potential. The Fellowship is an unrivalled opportunity to interact with and to learn from some of the most experienced technology transfer professionals in the UK.
The Fellowship is an amazing opportunity for those wishing to work in technology transfer. I would highly recommend it to others.