I strive to find joy and freedom in the process of “being and becoming”. I want to aid others to find the joy and happiness in their work.
Anji is a Technology Transfer (TT) professional with more than 18 years’ experience of working with early-stage translational research, including IP and contract management, licensing, business development of healthcare technologies, and development of knowledge transfer policies. Her current role at LifeArc involves working with academic and charitable establishments to identify, cultivate, fund, and commercialize early-stage healthcare technologies, focusing on rare diseases and advanced therapies.
A proponent for professional advancement in technology transfer, in collaboration with the AUTM Foundation, Anji developed and leads the LifeArc-AUTM TT Training Fellowship program. This collaborative initiative is designed to train and assist scientists to become TT professionals. She is also the Skills lead for the recently launched LifeArc Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapy, an initiative designed to provide manufacturing capability and translational and regulatory guidance for UK academics with new gene therapies. An advocate of equality diversity and Inclusion, Anji cofounded Global Equality, Diversity and Equality in Technology Transfer, a movement missioned to raise awareness and promote EDI in the TT sector.
Anji holds an M.Sc. in Human Molecular Genetics and Ph.D. in Cancer Genetics from Imperial College, as well as an M.Sc. and Certificate in IP Law from QMUL. She is a certified project manager, Registered Technology Transfer Professional and Certified Licensing Professional.
Anji sits on the board of several early-stage companies and groups and is VP of Communities on the ASTP Board, a member of the Bioindustry Association (BIA) Cell & Gene Therapy Advisory Committee and the AUTM Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
What experience do you have working on or with a strategic Board of Directors?
I have 13 years of experience serving on start-up, strategic planning and advisory boards for a range of organisations in the scientific and technology transfer sectors, which have drawn on my knowledge and experience.
Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM.
I have volunteered for the Association in several ways. These include:
- Member of the Online Professional development Committee from 2015 to 2018
- Currently a member of the AUTM Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee where I have contributed to the EDI column of the AUTM Insight and assisted the pilot Emerging Member Program
- Authored several articles for AUTM Insight newsletter
- Presented at several AUTM conferences (2015 and 2017). At present, I have an accepted session for the upcoming annual meeting in New Orleans
- Assists the AUTM Foundation led Susan Riley Keyes Technology Transfer Fellowship Program Production of AUTM webinar promoting the benefits of Technology Transfer Fellowship programmes (2021).
Why do you want to join the AUTM Board of Directors?
My motivations are to meaningfully impact the technology transfer sector so there is a clear path to the technology transfer profession, and it is the profession of choice. To ensure those new to the profession are appropriately trained and the more experienced practitioners are prepared and supported for leadership. Technology transfer is a global activity and reliant on an understanding of all sectors and geographical locations involved. As a global association, I believe it is important for AUTM to reflect and impact the technology transfer sectors of its global membership. I am dedicated to promoting true global awareness and knowledge of all AUTM’s members and partners. This latter motivation will ease communication and commercialisation in the sector and help identify challenges, and lead to greater inclusion within AUTM. I will bring a fresh and unique perspective and reflect the geographical diversity of AUTM’s membership. I am passionate about technology transfer, the impact this profession creates, and I share AUTM’s vision. As a board member I will be in a stronger position to make meaningful impact to the profession and help shape the way for future technology transfer leaders.
Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain.
Over the last 15 years I have served in leadership and strategic roles in several organisations and groups. Some of my current involvements are listed below: 1. Cofounder and Board member, GEDITT (Global Equality Diversity & Inclusion in Tech Transfer) – an initiative missioned to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in technology transfer across the globe. 2. Advisory Board, ASTP VP Communities – leading the strategy to increase connectivity in the European Knowledge Exchange sector. 3. Advisory Committee - Bioindustry Association Cell & Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. 4. Judge and Advisor - Biotechnology YES. Serve as a mentor and more recently as a Judge for the entrepreneurial programme designed to teach and encourage innovation in young STEM students and researchers.
If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you consider serving as Chair? Please explain.
Absolutely. It would be an honour to be nominated by my peers to serve as Chair of the Board, and testament of my value and impact in driving AUTM’s mission.
Please share personal strengths that you believe would be valuable to the AUTM Board and/or the strategic direction of the Association?
In addition to my knowledge of the European academic technology transfer and translational funding sectors, I believe my drive, passion, solution focussed mindset and tenacity, are valuable personal qualities that will complement the board. Most importantly, I enjoy working with others and have a track record of delivering.
What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan?
There are several examples that spring to mind, however the best examples and most current involve my role in leading a strategy to outline and support a path for scientists into the technology transfer profession and driving a strategy to support skills in the UK advanced therapy sector. I am experienced at working with, and driving, strategic initiatives positioned at the interface of academic, government and business partnerships, which often involve international partners.
How do terms of the position (both responsibilities and time commitment) fit with your other responsibilities? Will you have any conflicts of commitment between your full-time position and your volunteer time on the AUTM Board?
I am fully cognisant of the commitment this position demands and do not foresee any conflict with my current roles and activities. I have full support from my current employer, LifeArc, and I believe this position will appropriately use my current experience and knowledge and assist my leadership development. As with all roles and responsibilities, I will manage my time to ensure I devote and deliver to my full ability.
AUTM is committed to addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion both on the Board and on behalf of our Members. Briefly describe how your experiences can contribute to the Association’s growth in this area.
As a black British woman who has experienced careers as a scientist and technology transfer professional, I have first-hand knowledge of the ED&I needs and challenges of both sectors from a European and global perspective. ED&I is at the heart of everything I do, and I will continue to use my lived experiences and knowledge to drive change. As such, I will continue to assist AUTM, and the board, continue the great work done so far to address this vital area.
Is there anything else you would like AUTM Members to know about you before they vote?
I think there is a great opportunity for global collaborative working, both in and out of the sector, to address many of the sector needs. I believe I am a person who can help AUTM accomplish this.