Innovation Managers

Jo Chan

Jo Chan originally from Colchester in Essex, became an innovation manager for Newcastle Science City after 10 years of international experience in the R&D, automotive and product industries. He has worked for big name companies including Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen.

He did much of his learning on projects, including guiding the building of €1.5m prototype Bugatti sports car. Jo also attained an MBA from the Cranfield School of Management.

He says: “At NIM, I will be adopting the funnel approach, acting as a filter for ideas and coming at them from a different angle. The aim is to come up with new ideas, not just new products and services but new ways of delivering them that no one has thought of.

He adds: “Newcastle is becoming increasingly known as a world leader in science, engineering and technology and the Newcastle Innovation Machine provided the ideal opportunity for me to play my part in the city’s future. One of the good things about Newcastle Science City is the way it can lead you into networks which will help us turn ideas into a commercial reality.”

Carolyn Horrocks

Carolyn Horrocks from Liverpool, gained her experience working for some of the biggest names in pharmaceuticals, for whom she explored issues surrounding the way the human body reacts to drugs. She developed the theme in a PhD looking at how the body’s immune system reacts to transplant operations, and came up with ways in which the dangers of rejection could be minimised. She also explored stem cell sciences, including spells working in Vancouver, Canada, and Sweden.

Now, she is the innovation manager tasked with looking at renewables. Her work includes exploring ways of improving the carbon trading system, how best to install renewables in housing, how to service electric vehicles and ways of developing the green transport network. 

She says: “My work is all about meeting unmet needs, identifying ideas that can develop. I was attracted to the role because I was aware of the strong partnership networks in place in Newcastle and across North East England and see this is critical for the development of a successful knowledge based economy.’


Helen Floyd

Helen Floyd from Buckinghamshire, comes to her job from a background in the medical field, specifically in reconstructive surgery and the treatment of burns. Having worked in biological sciences, she has a ready appreciation of the kind of hothouse atmosphere which is needed to come up with scientific breakthroughs – and the kind of pitfalls which entrepreneurs need to avoid.

Focusing particularly on the ageing and health agenda, Helen says: “I will be working with people across the region on leading-edge research and collaborations to take ideas onto the next stage in their development. 

“Good ideas can die because people do not buy into them. What I am doing is ensuring we start with clear insights and developing the ideas appropriately. It is not just about new products. Sometimes it is about asking if the way an idea has been implemented is inefficient or ineffective. Innovation is often about making something work better.”

She adds: “I’m excited to be in Newcastle during what is definitely seems to be a pivotal time for the city and the wider region. 


Pradeep Raman

For Innovation Manager Pradeep Raman, the challenge involved in setting up a business is what has driven his career. He also brings international experience to his new job.

Born in India, Pradeep moved to New Zealand, where he was involved in setting up a number of businesses in the and new technologies field.

Having come to the UK and attained a MBA at Cranfield University, he has now brought an expertise honed at the sharp end of business to Newcastle Science City to work on ideas for further enterprises.

Pradeep says: “I have always been interested in the idea of starting businesses and that was my experience in New Zealand, where I was involved in starting a number of companies.

“I was interested in applications for internet technologies and one of the businesses was an online recruitment website, which featured videos of the people seeking jobs. Now that I am working with Newcastle Science City, I am still interested in developing the idea of new businesses and it is something I will be exploring.

“Energy also interests me. It is something that is very popular at the moment and I am interested in looking at opportunities within the sector although I am naturally drawn to applications for mobile phones and internet technologies.”


Eric Foch

Innovation Manager Eric Foch is a man with diverse interests, ranging from a passion for skiing to an interest in architecture – and he hopes to bring them all together in his role at Newcastle Science City.

Born in the Northern Alps, Eric has been involved in many senior roles during his business career, including working as a project and team leader on projects within the airline industry at Air France.

During that time, his initial interest in mechanical engineering and software applications developed into a much wider world view and an interest in change management and the nature of innovation.

The catalyst for his move to Newcastle was his decision five years ago, to design and build his own house in the south of France, using the latest green technologies. That strengthened his interest in the subject and part of his role with Newcastle Science City will be to identify opportunities within the sector, Eric having been attracted by the likes of NAREC at Blyth and the political support for renewables research and development in the UK.

But his interest goes beyond renewables because he also has a keen interest in sport (he is a member of the French Alpine Club) and music and art (he has been an actor, singer and a classical pianist).

Eric, who recently completed a MBA within the School of Management at Cranfield University, said: “I am interested in bringing different disciplines together, to see whether we can combine technology with sport and the arts. At Cranfield, I was identified as someone who was creative and as a ‘serial entrepreneur’ so I am keen to develop new ideas during my time at Newcastle Science City.”