The strategic direction of the Association is determined by a nine person Board, elected by the UKSPA membership alongside UKSPA’s Chief Executive.
John Leake – Chair
John Leake is Business Development Manager at Sci-Tech Daresbury and graduated from the University of Birmingham in Chemical Engineering.
He started work at Unilever in a variety of roles in engineering, sales, marketing & global business management based in the UK & USA. He also worked for Ineos as a Global Marketing Manager.
He became Business Development Manager at Sci-Tech Daresbury in 2006 with responsibility for attracting & supporting companies on-site, and developing strategic partnerships.
John sits on the Cheshire & Warrington LEP Science & Innovation Strategy Board and the Liverpool City Region LEP Digital & Creative Sector, and Investment Boards.
James Chaffer – Chief Executive
James was appointed as Chief Executive of UKSPA in January 2022. Prior to this, he served as Operations Director for the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP), where he was responsible for 100,000 sqft of office space for technology startups, spin-outs and SMEs.
James is an experienced technology professional, with an extensive background in financial and management software development. Prior to making the switch to running an innovation environment, he accumulated almost 25 years in the software industry, primarily providing management systems and consultancy services to innovation, incubation, science and technology park clients across the UK. During this time, he also served as a non-executive director of UKSPA for six years, representing the interests of Business Affiliates on the Board.
The ambition of the Association going forward is to enhance its standing and influence with national and local policy-makers, in order to further promote the significance of its Member locations to the national Innovation Strategy and future economic prosperity.
Professor Patrick Bonnett – Vice Chair
Patrick is Chief Development Officer at the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Professor of Practice, Innovation Environments at Newcastle University. He has worked widely across the applied research and innovation arenas for the past 35 years in organisations ranging from small technology start-ups to internationally recognised translational research laboratories. His expertise covers the construction and operation of innovation environments – physical and virtual; their organisational structures and functions and how they operate at regional, national and international scales.
Over recent years he has developed a particular interest in deep collaboration co-location models where innovation and research assets sit alongside ‘users’ of such research expertise to drive open innovation, commercialisation and economic growth. Most recently he oversaw the development of the multi-award winning Innovation Centre, The Catalyst, situated in the Helix Urban Innovation Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Patrick is also a Board Member of the Association for Innovation, Research & Technology Organisations (Airto), and a member of the International Advisory Board at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore and has served as a Board member of the UK Science Park Association since 2012. He has represented UKSPA at events in Bulgaria organised by the FCO Science & Innovation Network, worked in Australia and New Zealand advising on the development of an Alliance of Agri-Food Science Parks (supported by funding from the BIS Global Partnerships Fund) and acted as an Advisor to Government on the Industrial Strategy (Ageing) for a number of years.
Graham Hewson – Company Secretary and Honorary Treasurer
Graham joined Imperial Innovations as the Incubator Manager in 2010. He is responsible for the day to day running of the facility working closely with spinouts and companies renting laboratory and office space from the College.
Graham organises events to support the businesses while also helping connect companies with industry experts to help their businesses grow. He provides support to the organic growth spin outs through the Innovations start up packages, helping these companies set up bank accounts, branding and websites.
He has been working in Incubation for over 10 years and has previously managed a successful digital media Incubator in London’s Tech City. Graham has a MBA from the London Metropolitan Business School.
Sally Basker – Director
Dr Sally Basker has been Chief Executive Office of Exeter Science Park Ltd (ESPL) – since March 2017, in which time she has created and implemented a scale-up business plan and strategy that has generated significant momentum and is on-track to grow ESPL threefold (200 – 700 client staff) by the end of FY2021.
Prior to being appointed CEO at ESPL, Sally had 15 years’ board/senior-level experience in the highly regulated aerospace, defence, navigation and nuclear sectors. This involved building teams and changing cultures, creating and implementing strategies for high-value science/technology products and services, delivering policy and strategy advice to private and public sector clients, and leading advocacy to minister-level globally.
Dr Glenn Crocker MBE – Director
Glenn Crocker is an experienced CEO, company founder, non-executive director and investor in the life sciences sector. He has been CEO of BioCity Group since mid-2003, shortly after it was founded.
He has a DPhil in Immunology from Oxford University and qualified as a chartered accountant with EY, focussing on working with biotech companies in Palo Alto, California and Cambridge, UK, where he headed up the UK Biotech practice for EY.
BioCity builds, funds and grows life science companies at its four incubator sites in the UK.
Glenn is a non-executive director of a number of companies and consults on business incubation, start-up creation and cluster growth. He has been directly involved in investing in life science companies through BioCity’s own or managed funds since 2006.
In 2014 Glenn received an MBE for services to the biotechnology industry.
Rhian Hayward – Director
Rhian joined AberInnovation as CEO in January 2017 and has led the construction of the £40.5m Campus and the development of initiatives that support early stage tenant businesses and entrepreneurs in food, bioprocessing, nutrition and agri-tech technology development. In recent years she has held various public appointments including membership of the Welsh Industrial Development Board for Welsh Government.
Previously Rhian founded a consultancy business to assist investors in the due diligence around technology-based businesses and before that accrued 25 years of experience in the commercialisation of life science technologies in the private and public sectors. Having held a variety of marketing and business development roles in university spin out companies during this time and technology transfer roles in the Higher Education sector, she was awarded the MBE for services to Entrepreneurship in Wales in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016
Ian McFadzen – Director
Ian is Chief Executive of Plymouth Science Park and an experienced innovator and executive business leader with a proven record of delivering a range of high quality STEM outputs, gaining value from the triadic relationship between academia-industry-government.
Ian joined Plymouth Science Park Ltd as CEO in 2017 after enjoying 10 years at the University of Plymouth in a range of leadership roles, including Commercial Director and Head of the Marine Innovation Centre. During this time he helped establish the Brixham Laboratory; a former Astra Zeneca site now owned by the University of Plymouth and operating as a small science park.
His career began as a cell biologist at the Institute for Marine Environmental Research, where he enjoyed 14 years delivering research projects for UNEP, UNESCO, Unilever and a range of collaborative programmes across Europe. He conceived, incorporated and operated two technology-focussed companies, including Biovault Ltd a major accredited human tissue bank and stem cell repository; building investable management teams and raised blended finance portfolios.
Ian has held and continue to hold a number of NED and Trustee positions, including university spin-outs, the Ocean Conservation Trust and the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.
Jo Stevens – Director
Jo Stevens is Managing Director of Oxford Innovation with over 20 years’ experience of providing business development and incubation support to innovative, high growth companies. Prior to joining Oxford Innovation, Jo worked on several regeneration projects in the Thames Valley, developing opportunities for a range of social and community enterprises.
Appointed as Oxford Innovation’s Managing Director in 2017, Jo has previously had responsibility for the overall development of OI’s network of innovation centres. Jo led the research project looking at business survival and growth across 15 centres over a 10 year period, which was published in July 2014 and has also undertaken numerous feasibility studies for new innovation centres, undertaking site assessments, brand development, operating models and business plans for funding.
Emily Roberts – Early Career Professional Board member
Emily has worked for Menai science park since 2013. From Caernarfon, North Wales, Emily graduated from Bangor University’s school of Psychology in 2009. She worked across Wales as a research project support officer, developing Welsh language measuring tools for young children.
Starting as an administrator back in the day, Emily is now the Operations and Customer Experience Manager for M-SParc. Emily believes strongly in ensuring there is a space for women in Science and Technology, and in providing services for young people in Wales to start their own businesses.
James Latham – Early Career Professional Board member
James Latham, MRICS, has been Development and Leasing Director at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst since January 2021 and is responsible for all the leasing, planning and property development activities.
Previously, as an Associate Partner at Carter Jonas, James advised landlords, occupiers and developers in the Life Science and Technology sectors. Prior to this, he worked client side in London for Guildhouse UK Limited where he gained extensive knowledge and experience in his role as an Asset and Development Manager.
James has a first-class degree from the University of Reading in Land Management and has been a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) since 2013.