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Bio - Knowledge Transfer Expert

Ewan D Chirnside (BSc, PhD) is a knowledge and technology transfer professional with a solid background in the life sciences, previously a specialist in a range of respiratory viral diseases affecting thoroughbred horses racing and breeding performance. He has a BSc Hons in Microbiology from the University of Dundee (UK) and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Kent, Canterbury (UK) for his thesis titled “The Biodegredation of carboxymethyloxysuccinate”; an industrial collaboration with Unilever.  

His early research career covered aspects of microbiology, virology and molecular biology, resulted in a range of high quality research papersand scientific presentations at a range of international conferences. Involvement in research on equine viral diseases (1985-96) resulted in several patent applications covering the use of a range of viral proteins in novel diagnostic tests and vaccines. These led to Ewan being directly involved in more commercial activities through licensing technology to industry and subsequent involvement in a range of development projects. 

Based on his new experience of IPR and knowledge exchange Ewan moved from the lab, changing career in 1996, taking a knowledge exchange post at the University of Dundee. With further appointments at the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation company ERI and most recently as Director, Knowledge Transfer Centre (KTC) at the University of St Andrews Ewan is now a skilled knowledge transfer professional. 

In the last 20 years’ Ewan has amassed University-based experience in business development, research support, contract negotiation, industry engagement, knowledge exchange, technology identification and development, IPR management and technology commercialisation through licensing and spinout company formation. Working from Scotland for three research-intensive universities, two of them in the world’s top 100 institutions, he has successfully handled and directed knowledge exchange, technology transfer and commercialisation projects from the sciences, arts and humanities, and the social sciences.

The University of St Andrews’ KTC, for which Ewan is the Director, is a unit which provides strategic leadership and professional advice on all issues of knowledge exchange. Since 2008 the KTC’s focus has been to enhance the University’s engagement with industry and business, and to develop and exploit the outputs of fundamental research, providing a range of reportable institutional outcomes and impacts and additional revenue to the University and technology inventors. 

The KTC’s success is founded on building trusted, working relationships with researchers, senior University management (academic, Principal’s Office and Support Units), corporate executives, investors, intermediaries and a wide range of funders and stakeholders. As a senior University manager and based on his experience Ewan has been invited onto professional,  representative and stakeholder groups (PraxisUnico, UKIPO Lambert WG, SFC Innovation Scotland Forum, US RKEC and RCDG, 1994 KE group) and has well-developed networks within Scotland and the wider UK, including investor groups active in university commercialisation.

Throughout his career Ewan has been outward-facing and actively involved in industry engagement and knowledge exchange, negotiating both very small and major deals with companies and a range of other research grant and contracts and other agreements on behalf of the University. In addition to assisting faculty win research funding he has bid for and won KE funding for his own projects. Recently Ewan has provided technology transfer advice and support in the Czech Republic and supported the UK Intellectual Property Office in India. He looks forward to helping his colleagues in the TWENDE team with their knowledge exchange efforts and kicking tuberculosis out of East Africa.