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ICR celebrates innovation and commercialisation at staff awards


A recent staff awards ceremony offered an opportunity to celebrate our entrepreneurial culture.

Posted on 19 December, 2022 by Alison Halliday

Jon Wilkinson (l) - collecting an award on behalf of Kevin Harrington - and Matthew Blackledge (r)

Interim Director of Business and Innovation Jon Wilkinson (l) accepting an award on behalf of Professor Kevin Harrington, and Dr Matt Blackledge (r)

More than 250 staff and students gathered last month to recognise The Institute of Cancer Research’s incredible staff at our inaugural ‘Above and Beyond’ awards ceremony.

And amongst awards to celebrate our colleagues’ amazing contributions to our impact and sustainability, and our most inspiring teams and individuals, we celebrated our work to translate our discoveries in collaboration with industry through our ‘innovation’ award.

Professor Kevin Harrington, Professor of Biological Cancer Therapies at the ICR and a Consultant Oncologist at The Royal Marsden, won overall in in the innovation category – with Dr Matthew Blackledge, Team Leader in Computational Imaging at the ICR, receiving a highly commended award.

Professor Harrington was unable to collect the award in person so it was collected on his behalf by Dr Jon Wilkinson, our Interim Director of Business and Innovation.


Building strategic relationships

Professor Harrington was nominated by the ICR’s Business and Innovation Office – which oversees our work with industry – for an award for his work with industry. He was nominated especially for being a key figure in establishing and building strategic relationships between the ICR and external partners.

His efforts have led to important, long-term collaborations with companies including Amgen – for example in the development of the innovative viral immunotherapy T-Vec in melanoma.

Professor Harrington pioneered new forms of radiotherapy before also developing an extensive interest in biological therapeutics (and how the two types of treatment can be combined).

Professor Harrington was unable to collect the award in person so it was collected on his behalf by Dr Jon Wilkinson, our Interim Director of Business and Innovation.

Entrepreneurial ‘role model’

Dr Blackledge was also put forward for the award for his long-term interest and success in entrepreneurialism and dedication to developing our discoveries into new treatments, in collaboration with industry, for the benefit of cancer patients.

He is regarded as a role model at the ICR for other early-career researchers in the development of an entrepreneurial mindset – and has been a pioneer in developing innovative routes to commercialise research discoveries.

His recent entrepreneurial successes include working with colleagues at The Royal Marsden, the ICR’s partner hospital, to commercialise his research to develop a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. The technology could significantly speed up the acquisition of MRI scans for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Working in partnership

The ICR has an unrivalled track record of discovering new cancer drugs and medical technologies. We're convinced that working in close partnership with industry is essential to take results into the clinic as soon as possible to make sure our research delivers maximum benefit for cancer patients.

Dr Jon Wilkinson, Director of Business and Innovation in the ICR’s Business and Development Office said:

“Our Above and Beyond Awards are just one example of a range of internal activities that celebrate the contributions of all our staff to life at the ICR – whether that’s to our research environment or to our open, collaborative culture.

“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to celebrate our work to develop the entrepreneurial side of our culture through our innovation award, and a pleasure to acknowledge two enterprising researchers in Kevin and Matt. Their efforts to commercialise their discoveries have led to tangible benefits for people with cancer and are inspiring a new generation of scientists here at the ICR to work in an entrepreneurial way.”

Find out more

Contact our Business and Innovation Office to learn more about collaborating with us, view our portfolio of industry collaboration opportunities, or sign up to Connections, our industry email newsletter, to hear about news and upcoming events.

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