Innovation Board

Promoting new opportunities together

Innovation Board

Dr Alan Lowdon – ChairAlan Lowdon

Dr Lowdon has more than 25 years’ experience in the international energy and utilities markets working for multinationals including Shell, Suez, British Gas, Rolls Royce Industrial Power, Mott MacDonald and SKM s well as heading up three university spin-off companies and leading on technology and innovation for Narec. He currently acts as an advisor on energy to the UK and US governments and various UK universities and is a visiting professor at the University of Durham.


Dean Cook

Dean Cook is regional manager, North East, Yorkshire and Humber for Innovate UK. With 26 years practical experience in research translation, he was formerly at Defra’s ‘Food and Environment Research Agency’, his most recent position as Head of Science Strategy. An MBA graduate of Warwick Business School, Dean’s broader experience includes secondments to Research Council BBSRC Strategy and Policy and Defra’s Strategic Evidence Group. Originally from the South East of England, Dean has made the North his home the past 20 years.


Gillian HallGillian Hall

Gillian was the first female senior partner and national head of corporate law at Watson Burton LLP, a national law firm with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and London. Now retired from Watson Burton, Gillian is a highly respected contributor to private and public sector organisations across the region. Gillian does this through angel investments and non-executive directorships, including the Port of Blyth and Arch the Northumberland Development Company. Gillian is also a longstanding CBI Regional Councillor and a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.


NELEP Farooq-Hakim

Farooq Hakim

Farooq is part of the BT Technology, Service & Operation leadership team with twenty plus year’s involvement in the delivery of complex business transformation programmes with roles at all levels.  He is currently the Chief Information Officer for Group Services with responsibility for delivering ICT transformations for a number of group functions globally. Furthermore Farooq is the BT Group North East Regional Director representing the local face of BT, protecting and enhancing BT’s reputation by helping key opinion formers appreciate BT’s strategic goals and provide thought leadership for regional communities acting as a driver for regional development and growth.


Tim Hammond webDr Tim Hammond

Dr Hammond is Director of Business and Innovation Services, Durham University. A chemist by background, Tim has broad industrial experience working within research and product development within large corporates including ICI and Astra Zeneca, and at technical director Level, within a local plc (Applied Optical Technologies). Prior to his current role, Tim headed Durham University’s technology transfer activity setting up company start-ups and technology licensing.



Neil Hemming

Neil Hemming
Neil Hemming is a managing partner at global software leader SAP. He has held group director roles in a 30 year career with a number of international technology businesses including Vodafone, BT, IBM and Oracle. In addition to expertise and relationships in the global ICT sector, Neil will bring a commercial, sales and marketing focus to the board.



Dr Colin Herron Dr Colin Herron has over 40 years’ experience in the automotive sector working for a first tier supplier and 17 years with Nissan. After being seconded to the RDA by Nissan,Colin joined the RDA and stayed with it until leaving in 2011 to create Zero Carbon Futures, a consultancy subsidiary of Gateshead College specialising in Electric vehicle and associate technologies. A member of the Newcastle city futures group, NEAA advisory board and the IET National Manufacturing Policy Panel. Working with several universities and a Visiting Professor at Newcastle University.


Graham Hillier

Graham is the Director responsible for Strategy and Futures at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and was until recently the first Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult.  He has a Degree in Metallurgy, PhD from the University of Cambridge and an MBA.  He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors. He has a wide-ranging business background including recycling operations, new product development, business development and low carbon energy.  He has developed and delivered strategy for a wide range of organisations and has been a core member of the team that has created the UK’s first Technology and Innovation Centre – The High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Throughout his career Graham has worked in innovation and he has been instrumental in developing CPI’s Innovation Integrator® model.


Dr Tony Ikwue

Dr Tony Ikwue is the Director of Enterprise & Innovation at Sunderland University. He is responsible for maximising the economic and social impact of the University through enterprise, innovation and business engagement. Tony is a knowledge transfer specialist with particular expertise in low carbon innovation and the design and implementation of innovation systems as drivers for sustainable growth and prosperity.



Cllr Iain Malcolm

Councillor Iain Malcolm

Councillor Malcolm has been a member of South Tyneside Council since 1988 and Leader since 2008. He chairs the board of Newcastle International Airport, is a member of the South Tyneside Foundation Trust, chair of the South Tyneside Health and Wellbeing board and a member of the LGA Community Wellbeing board. Professionally he is deputy chair of Sovereign Strategy.



George Marston

Prof George Marston

Prof Marston is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Northumbria University. After graduating in chemistry and gaining his doctorate from Oxford University, Prof Marston worked at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center before returning to Oxford University as a lecturer. He moved to Reading University where he held a number of management and leadership positions, including Dean of the Faculty of Science, before taking up his role at Northumbria University this year.



Patrick Melia, Chief Executive, North Tyneside Council

Leading change and partnership working are key areas of expertise for Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of North Tyneside Council. Patrick is driven by a desire to ensure the delivery of high quality services that enable residents to live as independently as possible in their local communities. As a result of the dramatic reduction in Local Government Funding he is currently leading a significant change programme to ‘reinvent’ Local Government to ensure that North Tyneside continues to be a great place for residents to live, businesses to thrive and for visitors to enjoy.



Hans Möller lr

Hans Möller 

Hans Möller is Innovation Director with the North East LEP. He has over 25 years managerial experience including all areas of innovation promotion, sales and marketing. Before starting at the North East LEP in 2015, Hans worked as the CEO of the leading Science Park in Sweden, Ideon Science Park in Lund. He was also Chair of the Swedish Incubators and Science Parks, and is Chair of Karolinska Institutet Science Park in Stockholm.



Mayor Norma Redfern

Mayor Norma Redfearn

Norma Redfearn took up her four-year term of office as Elected Mayor of North Tyneside in May 2013. As the authority’s principal public spokesperson, her role is to give political direction to the Council.  Before being elected as the Mayor of North Tyneside Norma served as Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning. A graduate of Newcastle University she has had a 30 year career in teaching.



Roy Sandbach

Professor Roy Sandbach
For over 30 years, Professor Sandbach has held international R&D leadership positions with Procter & Gamble, the global consumer goods company and innovation powerhouse. He is an internationally recognised name in innovation and has visiting professor positions with Newcastle, Northumbria & Cranfield Universities and Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design. He is a non-executive director with a technology based start-up, Arnia and the national awarding organisation NCFE.    



Nick Wright

Professor Nick Wright

Prof. Wright is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Newcastle University. By background, Prof Wright is an electrical engineer who has a distinguished track record of research into the application of novel materials in electronics and related technologies. He is currently working primarily on aerospace and subsea technologies.