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Our team of public funding and innovation experts from TWI and Teesside University

The team is drawn from our public funding and innovation experts at TWI who will help to plot the technical and commercial activities required for successful public funding. We will help you understand how to move your idea forward to build and partnerships and collaborations that can help make your innovation a commercial success.

Academics at Teesside University will form the TIA prototyping team. They can support SMEs with key enabling technologies to realise the proof-of-concept or prototype of your idea. The team can also develop smart products, bringing together physical components with sensing and actuating elements as well as computing devices and connectivity. With facilities in Tees Valley area at TWI Middlesbrough, the project can also offer manufacturing including inkjet 3D printing and micro-milling.

The Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator projects is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. Through the project we will be carrying out activities to increase participation of female-led and minority-led SMEs, as under-represented groups. As the project progresses we will publish more information about our efforts on this website. You can read more about TWI and Teesside University’s commitments to equality, diversity and inclusion here: 

The Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator team

Abbas Mohimi Derek Lincoln Luke Turner
Andra Stancu Gareth Fletcher Robert Cooper
Ángela Angulo Kate Kell Sally Shi
Cem Selcuk Laurence Robinson Victoria Adesanya


tia-abbasAbbas Mohimi, Head of Public Funding and Regional Engagement, TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN)

Abbas is Head of Public Funding and Regional Engagement and also leads the technology transfer team at TWI. He is a chartered engineer with over 15 years of experience in technology and innovation projects. He has a degree in electrical & electronics engineering and a PhD in sensor development. He was involved in TWI’s first innovation centre with Brunel University London and later led the technical programme management of National Structural Integrity Research Centre, a £150m initiative based at TWI. He is passionate about technology and creating collaboration partnerships. He secured and managed a £2M training initiative to deliver training to under-represented groups in India and South East Asia, and more recently has established strategic innovation centre partnerships addressing Net Zero challenges such as Industrial decarbonisation, circular economy, and digitalisation.


tia-andraAndra Stancu, Innovation Consultancy Senior Project Leader, TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN)

Andra supports members and clients linking strategy and innovation, developing business relationships and aligning new product ideas to market strategies, and successful online campaigns. She works closely with the Technology Innovation Management team at TWI, offering support and advice on public funding landscape. 
Andra is also part of the Tees Valley Innovation Accelerator (TIA) Programme, supporting SMEs towards achieving their business objectives. She engages with internal and external stakeholders (SMEs, Government, Academia and Commercial Organisations), selecting business-specific opportunities and supports establishing key partnerships for sustainable business activities. She has a Civil Engineering and Renewable Energy background, with a practical perspective on the development of technical systems and investigating innovative sustainable solutions to modern industrial challenges.


tia-angelaÁngela Angulo, Innovation Accelerator Manager, TWIIN

Ángela supports TWIIN’s partners, including Innovation Centres, SMEs and other organisations to achieve their innovation ambitions, by helping them define research themes and technical strategies that reflect high-impact areas for development. This includes market research and mapping, analysis of new industry trends and future technologies and formulation of business cases to align and prioritise their growth ambitions. Ángela assists our members to identify and secure new funding opportunities and private business partnerships and to access international cooperation opportunities. She has collaborated with numerous organisations and industrial research partners across Europe and overseas, including securing funding for technology projects and progressing innovative ideas from concept through to market readiness. Ángela specialises in integrity management with a particular emphasis on digitalisation of industrial assets and processes using smart sensing technologies, and their integration with data management strategies.


tia-Cem SelcukDr Cem Selcuk, Head of Business Development, TWIIN

Cem’s role focuses on expanding the TWI Innovation Network (TWIIN) with new Innovation Centres (academic partnerships), and Technology Accelerator Programme (industrial partnerships) Members who are mainly SMEs. He was Head of Brunel Innovation Centre (BIC), the first Innovation Centre at TWI, and is now the Programme Director for the new Digital Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, in partnership with Sabanci University, Istanbul. Cem (CEng, CEnv) is a member of EPMA, APMI, IOM3 (FIMMM), at which he sits on several boards, and The Welding Institute (FWeldI), and he has publications (over 75) in peer-reviewed journals with more than 550 citations for his work.



tia-derek-2Derek Lincoln, Senior Innovation Project Manager, TWIIN

Following an MSc in Sustainable Engineering at Teesside University in 2001, Derek entered the world of European Funding and spent 10 years successfully leading on structural funding for economic and social regeneration projects in Stockton-on-Tees; building bridges, business centres, and nature reserves – a wide range of strategically supported projects. After a short time as a bidding consultant, his skills in project development led him to CPI where, as a Bid Proposal Development Manager in Industrial Biotechnology, he became involved with H2020 and InnovateUK funding, along with Structural Funds, Interregional Cooperation and some commercial business development activities. Most recently, Derek has been managing the Tees Valley Collaborative Networks Programme, supporting regional SMEs to access a small fund to help increase the amount of local firms involved in R&D.


tia-garethGareth Fletcher, Technology Manager, Tees Valley Combined Authority and Programme Development, TWI

A professional metallurgist and chartered engineer, he has strong interests and currently a very active role in the decarbonisation of Industry, which is combined with extensive experience in driving innovation and collaborative research. With over 35 years industrial experience in both operational and technical roles in the Steel Industry, Gareth led the collaboration between Tata Steel and CPI which ultimately led to the divestment of the Materials Processing Institute after which he then moved on to his current and somewhat novel role, with a wide range of responsibilities across both TWI and TVCA. Gareth holds a BSc in Metallurgy and an MBA from Aston University.




tia-kate-kellKate Kell, Innovation Funding Specialist, TWI Technology Innovation Management (TIM)

Kate is an Engineer with over 20 years' experience in manufacturing, supply chain, operations management and consultancy roles in sectors including automotive, food and drink, adhesives, polymers, clean energy, optical equipment and medical devices. In her role at TWI, Kate combines this with her background in writing public funding applications, to work with TWI technical experts, Innovation Centres and TWI Members to find suitable public funding calls for their collaborative technology innovation concepts.




tia-laurenceLaurence Robinson, Team Manager, TWI TIM

Laurence is a Chartered Chemical Engineer with 12 years' experience working in engineering and innovation. He brings his passion for technology and background in technical project management together to deliver new projects for TWI and partners. Laurence has a particular interest in solutions that drive the clean energy revolution and has expertise in power systems, and carbon capture and storage. "I believe real innovation happens when disciplines collide, and collaboration is key to create true novelty. My team is passionate about bringing together experts in our network to solve the global technical challenges we all face" said Laurence.




tia-lukeLuke Turner, Innovation Project Leader, TWI TIM

Luke works extensively with partners and TWI Industrial Members to facilitate #innovation projects via public funding, which focus on meeting European objectives through H2020, and on UK Government priorities utilising Innovate UK. In particular, Luke concentrates on mid-high technology readiness levels with strategic partners, creating definitive roadmaps through commercialisation to innovation scale up. Prior to joining TWI, Luke was a Data Analyst at Amazon, primarily of new product development strategy. The role included testing and improving current and upcoming innovations such as the Alexa/Amazon Echo to ensure they met audience needs and expectations.



tia-robertDr Robert Cooper, Senior Innovation Project Leader, TWI TIM

Robert works with TWI's partners and Industrial Members to facilitate innovation projects via public funding, and since joining TWI, has worked on successful funding bids involving nanoparticles, sensor technology, 5G, 3D printing, robotics and many more, securing over £41 million. Robert has a Masters in Chemistry, and a DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry specialising in small molecule activation and catalysis, both from the University of Oxford.





tia-Sally ShiDr Xiaoqing (Sally) Shi, Innovation Project Leader, TWI TIM

Sally holds a BEng and a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering specialising in nanoelectronics, both from the University of Southampton. Greatly motivated, Sally has excellent communication skills and is passionate about understanding TWI’s various stakeholders’ research and development needs. She also enjoys supporting innovators to raise the technology readiness level of their products and services through public funding opportunities. Since joining TWI, Sally has coordinated and led bids (up to £21 million in value) involving new manufacturing technologies, digitisation and Industry 4.0, industry net zero, AI, composites and new materials in sectors such as automotive, renewable energy, aviation and more.



tia-victoriaDr Victoria Adesanya-Aworinde, Senior Innovation Project Leader, TWI TIM

Victoria works closely with TWI’s clients, including leading research innovation centres, large industrial members, start-ups, SMEs and universities to develop high-tech innovative multi-million projects and secure public funding. Her experience extends across various industries and technologies such as healthcare, transport, renewable energy, materials and manufacturing, AI, Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and automation. Since joining TWI, Victoria has successfully won funding bids of over £38 million. She has a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge.