The University of Manchester Innovation Factory

Meet the team leading the commercialisation of our innovations and intellectual property.

Andrew Wilkinson

CEO, Andrew Wilkinson

An alumnus of the University, Andrew is a successful CEO and Managing Director with extensive experience growing international technology companies. He spent many years leading complex, multi-national businesses, operating across a wide range of sectors. He specialises in the industrialisation and commercialisation of innovative technologies, business growth and turn-around.

Andrew joined the University in mid-2016 as CEO of its subsidiary company Graphene Enabled Systems Ltd (GES). Before joining GES, Andrew was Regional Managing Director of the French power equipment manufacturer Socomec SA. At Socomec, Andrew led three subsidiaries covering North America and the British Isles, where he significantly grew the businesses’ revenue, profitability and market share.

Prior to this, he was Sales and Marketing Director of a group business of ICI plc, which manufactured a broad range of industrial and consumer products based on coated and thermally stabilised PET film.

Head of Intellectual Property, Freddy Guemeni

Freddy has over 8 years of experience in intellectual property management, helping to drive forward progress and innovation in research.

His broad experience includes roles at the National Institute for Health Research and Imperial Innovations. He is also a guest lecturer at multiple universities, including Imperial College London.

Project Manager - Chemistry, Materials, and Translational Funding, Natalie Mera-Pirttijarvi

After achieving a masters in Chemistry from The University of Manchester, Natalie joined one of the University's spin-out business – Nanoco Technologies Ltd – being among its first employees. It was here where she worked in the research and development department, leading a team of researchers on a variety of projects involving quantum dots and collaborating with multinational companies interested in technology commercialisation. Now, Natalie puts her Chemistry and commercialisation expertise to use at the Innovation Factory, where she has been since 2016.

Senior Project Manager - Computer Science, Erol-Valeriu Chioasca

Erol commercialises all of the computing research at the Innovation Factory, licensing software technology and forming spin-out companies. He has over 10 years of experience in computing, including a role at IBM and founding his own AI-assisted sales company, Exgence.

Erol completed his PhD in Computer Science at The University of Manchester and has multiple publications to his name.

Project Manager - Electronics, Gareth Jones

Prior to his current role, Gareth was the Scientific and Technical Officer at Graphene Enabled Systems at The University of Manchester. Gareth completed his PhD at The University of Exeter’s Centre for Graphene Science, where he co-authored 11 publications and contributed to multiple international research collaborations.

Senior Project Manager - Life Sciences, Arnaud Garçon

Arnaud utilises his experience in drug discovery, technology transfer, and medical technology to develop and commercialise world-class technologies.

He attended university in France and completed his PhD in Biological Chemistry at The University of Sheffield.

Senior Project Manager - Life Sciences, Katherine Horner

Katherine supports the development and commercialisation of emerging technologies from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical technology sectors.

Prior to this, Katherine worked as Senior Programme Manager in grant funding, representing both the National Institute for Health Research and NHS England by helping de-risk healthcare technologies that had a strong potential for NHS adoption and commercialisation. Completing her PhD in Chemical Biology at The University of Leeds, Katherine also worked at the University as a Postdoctoral Researcher and supported Research and Innovation within the (Bio)Pharmaceutical Sector.

Senior Project Manager - Life SciencesSonia Nikolovski

Sonia has over 10 years of experience liaising with partners to develop and commercialise intellectual property in the clinical and life sciences.

Prior to her role at the Innovation Factory, Sonia worked in translational biotechnology research in Australia and has a MSc in Management of Science, Technology, and Innovation from Manchester Business School and a PhD in Biochemistry from La Trobe University in Australia.

Senior Project Manager - Materials, Chemistry, Physics, Shanshan Huo

Shanshan has over 10 years of experience in the materials, chemical and engineering field. She has conducted extensive industrial R&D and academic work in UK, North America and China and was previously a Senior Project Engineer at Graphene Enabled Systems, The University of Manchester.

Project Manager - Materials, Chemistry, PhysicsDaniel Sava

Daniel has an extensive background in chemistry, materials and chemical engineering, having received the President’s Doctoral Scholar Award for his PhD in Chemistry at The University of Manchester and completed internships in the steel and cement manufacturing industries.

Team Administrator, Joe Murphy

Joe helps to organise and arrange internal affairs at the Innovation Factory. Joe has a wealth of scientific experience, completing his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience, Biological and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Leeds, and his masters in the Psychology of Mental Health at The University of Edinburgh. He also worked as a volunteer research assistant at The University of Edinburgh.

Joe manages all general enquiries for the Innovation Factory and can be contacted by email:

Visit the Innovation Factory's operations page to find out more about the team and their individual contact details.