Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology Centre

Business Manager CPI

Chelsea Brain: Business Development Manager

After her EngD at ScotBio Chelsea now works as Business Development Manager (Bioprocessing/ Industrial Biotechnology) at the Centre for Process Innovation.

Chelsea is working as Business Development Manager at the Centre for Process Innovation. Before taking up this role she worked as Intellectual Property Officer at the University of Surrey. In both roles a wide ranging understanding for academia, industry and technology transfer is essential. So how did her EngD prepare her for her professional roles?

Chelsea’s project was a collaboration between 2 Newcastle University schools, namely Marine Science and Technology and Chemical Engineering, and the SME Scottish Bioenergy, now ScotBio. Chelsea joined ScotBio in 2010 3 years after the company was founded. At this point ScotBio was rethinking their original business idea to produce biofuel from microalgae. Chelsea’s initial business analysis caused the company to focus on bioactives, molecules with an effect on living organisms such as pigments, antioxidants or bioremediation, from microalgae. Experiments led finally to the breakthrough: a novel process of significantly increasing the yield of phycocyanin, the blue pigment of the algae Spirulina. As Chelsea puts it: “It was innovative experimental planning and also a stroke of luck that our experiments showed we had a novel process of significantly increasing the yield of this high-value product."

Working on the intersection of academic and commercial research with a young start-up Chelsea gained experience in research and development along with an understanding of University-industry collaborations and commercialisation of University technology. She also learned at first hand about the way SMEs operate. Chelsea was involved in the patent filing and licencing of the production method. The modular part of the EngD gave her a solid background in commercialisation, Design of Experiment, Quality by Design, bioinformatics and bioprocessing. The combination of business and technical knowledge is extremely valuable for her current role at the CPI.

It is not just the hard skills but as well soft skills that make Chelsea stand out for her tech transfer roles. Coming into her engineering focussed EngD with a background in biochemistry she had to pick up quickly new technologies. Working with a range of different people from different background, often being the link between them, helped to develop excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Case study: CPI