The Alumni Summit, Oxford 2015

Something very special is going on here… The life sciences sector is doing extraordinary things. It’s all built on brilliant science with joined-up activity and thinking.  George Freeman MP, Life Sciences Minister

BELS conceived the idea for The Alumni Summit to convene highly-accomplished alumni of Oxford-region universities working abroad in the life sciences along with UK thought leaders from industry, academia and the NHS.

BELS partnered with the Oxford Academic Health Science Network to deliver this highly-productive event at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. The Summit led directly to solid outcomes including clinical trials, research projects, and one returning expat.

The Summit assembled a remarkable mix of people… We need to find new ways to talk to each other and work together. This has been a terrific way to start that dialogue.  Sir John Bell, the Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, The Alumni Summit Chair

Our programmeAlumniSummitProgramme-Jul2015.
A brief video recap of the event is available here.

Progress report:  We checked in with Alumni Summit attendees six months on and found that exciting progress is being delivered, discussions are happening, and projects are being planned. And over time we expect much more to come because the UK is now closer to top-of-mind for the expats/overseas alumni who attended.

Feedback from Summit attendees attests to many positive outcomes:

The conference was very timely and I have had offers of collaborations and business advice already.  Prof Sarah Blagden, University of Oxford Department of Oncology, UK

It was a terrific event. Great networking and I learned a tremendous amount. I would be very interested in participating more in future. We are working on several initiatives in Oxford and the Summit certainly helped to make connections stronger.   Dr Rupert Vessey, President, Research and Early Development, Celgene, USA

Maintain and develop this event.  Simon Russell, Chief Business Officer, Creabilis, Switzerland

Hold more of these events so that connections made may be strengthened.  I found the idea that rather than competing with the USA in terms of therapeutic-focused biotechs the UK is instead focusing upon its strengths in the genetic technologies area. I found this both exciting and fascinating.  Simon Blake, Sr Director, Scientific Licensing for Immunology, Johnson & Johnson, USA

I was inspired to learn about ways in which the NHS sees itself as a catalyst for innovation.   Dr Ronald Farquhar, Biotech Investor, Morningside, USA

The content of the meeting was thought provoking and provided a fascinating insight into how much things are changing within academic research community. I was positively surprised at how much the UK was doing particularly in big data and healthcare records. The US has a lot to learn from these efforts.   Dr John Richards, VP Global Technical Development, The Medicines Company, USA

I’d like to see more meetings with opportunities to meet with UK government, companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, scientists and academic institutions.  Gordon Wong, Head of New Frontier Science, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, USA

It was great to see you in Oxford and congratulations on the conference which I think was a tremendous success.  I’ve already begun this process (strengthening connections) with introductions to possible collaborations regarding precision drug discovery approaches.  Dr Dominic Behan, CSO, Arena Pharmaceuticals, USA

What a valuable experience – impressive energy and creativity in our Oxford community, both in ‘the locals’ as well as in the Oxford global diaspora. I know there will be a great deal of interest in your work as well as in the potential business opportunities when we return to the Bay Area.  Dr Theresa Wright, Senior Medical Director, Genentech, USA

I think you brought together a really interesting group of people with a diverse but stimulating set of presentations. I would be keen to attend any future event.  Dan Mahony, Investment Manager, Polar Capital, UK

I really enjoyed the conference – I made some very helpful business connections.   Heather Preston, Managing Director, TPG Biotech, USA

This was a fabulous event and a great format. The panel discussions were extremely informative. Dr Eddie Blair, Managing Director, Integrated Medicines, UK

It was a fantastic event and I have left thoroughly inspired.  Dr William Do, young innovator and junior doctor, UK


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