Upcoming events:


In order to maximise opportunities presented by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the MD Club are hosting a series of interactive, facilitated workshops (sandpits) working alongside regional businesses and academics on the challenge areas, and funding calls, in which the Sheffield City Region is best positioned to respond.

Sandpit #1: Clean Energy
(28th June, 5-8pm @ Gripple Riverside)

Challenge area: ‘new energy technologies including battery storage and grid technologies – how to become the global leader in solving the energy challenge of supplying clean, affordable energy securely to ever more-demanding societies around the world.’

What is the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF)

  • The ISCF is a fund to invest in science and innovation challenges, to meet the demands and opportunities of UK industry
  • The Government has committed to an additional £4.7 billion investment in science & innovation – the greatest single increase for nearly 40 years
  • Of this £4.7 billion investment, £270 million was announced in the March budget for the following calls:
    1. Developing artificial intelligence and robotics for offshore energy, nuclear energy and space
    2. Designing and manufacturing better batteries for new electric vehicles
    3. Improving medicine manufacturing technologies to speed up patient access to drugs

The ISCF will initially be focused on 8 challenge areas (with a further 2 in consideration) where there is the greatest market potential, excellent UK research and industrial capability, where the timing is right for a major drive, and where public money can work alongside private sector investment to make the UK a world-leader.

The sandpits will provide the opportunity for businesses to discuss:

  • What are your ideas? Do you see opportunities for growth? Do you have a vision around these challenges?
  • What is your role in the supply chain around these challenges? Who do you need to be working with?
  • Do we have local issues and can we build on local research assets and industrial capability?
  • How can the universities work with you to support your ideas? What do we need to do as an enabler?

If you are interested in attending, please get in touch

(Further sandpits are proposed for ‘Manufacturing & Materials of the Future’ and ‘Robotics and Artificial Intelligence’ – dates are TBC.)

Past events:

6th April 2017, 6-9pm @ AMRC Factory 2050

With integrated ‘cyber-physical systems’ providing more connectivity and therefore more data, the next generation of manufacturing technologies (known as the 4th industrial revolution) are being adopted globally.

With companies like Siemens leading the way, what does this change mean for businesses in the Sheffield City Region? Can they work alongside Sheffield academics to harness these new technologies, adopting the elements that will be worth their investment?

Keynote speakers include:

Alan Norbury, Central Technology Officer (CTO) for Siemens industrial activities

Alan-NorburyAfter starting his career as an apprentice in Siemens Congleton in 1978, Alan later became the UK Product Specialist for a number of advanced technologies, developing into the role of Applications Specialist with a focus on the UK original equipment manufacturer (OEM) market.

As Siemens Industrial Central Technology Officer, Alan now dedicates his time to developing leading technology innovations, working closely with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) as part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

Ben Morgan, Head of the Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)

Ben_Morgan_squareAt their new home in Factory 2050, the AMRC Integrated Manufacturing Group are driving world-class reconfigurable manufacturing technology. Working with industrial and academic partners they bring together advanced technologies, such as robotics, augmented reality and large-volume metrology, to develop innovative integrated systems using ‘Big Data’ technology.

Industry 4.0 presents an incredibly exciting but equally daunting prospect. Ben’s talk will try to de-mystify what it means to SMEs and demonstrate a route to starting the journey

If you’re interested in joining the MD Club and attending this event - please get in touch

20th October 2016, 6-9pm – Digital Transformation


Keynote speaker: Rachel Neaman, Director of Skills and Partnerships at Doteveryone, will be discussing digital transformation for productivity.

Rachel Neaman has a wealth of experience in delivering digital strategy, policy and products and sits on the Digital Leaders Advisory Board, the UK’s premier platform for expert opinion and networking on digital transformation.

Previously Chief Executive of Go ON UK, a cross sector digital skills charity, until it merged with Doteveryone, Rachel worked to create a new kind of digital organisation to show what’s possible: tech for good, at scale, for everyone.

With a passion for delivering results through smart and collaborative working, Rachel will be speaking at this upcoming MD Club event on digital transformation, leadership and inclusion, and how technology can be harnessed for positive social outcomes and improving business productivity.

There will be the opportunity for a Q&A with Rachel following the presentation. Drinks & catering will be provided. To register please contact: / 0114 222 1066

18th May 2016 – MD Club Presents:

Sir Nigel Knowles – A vision for the Sheffield City Region, from DLA Global Co-Chairman to Local Enterprise Partnership leader

The MD Club brings together regional business leaders and key academics to exchange knowledge and ideas for future partnerships. Join us at this upcoming event hosted by Professor Richard Jones (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, The University of Sheffield) and Professor Roger Eccleston (Pro Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University).

This event will provide the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers, Sir Nigel Knowles (LEP Chairman and Global Co-Chairman DLA Piper) and Nigel Brewster (LEP Vice Chair and Partner of Brewster Pratap Recruitment Consultants). As the driving force behind DLA Piper’s growth into a multinational law firm, hear how Sir Nigel Knowles brings this experience to his new role as LEP Chairman and his plans for the Sheffield City Region.

The presentations will be followed by a sit down dinner and the opportunity for networking with business leaders and academics.

Places are limited so please get in touch by the 6th May if you are interested in attending –

2nd Feb 2016 – Creating a Culture of Innovation:  JRI Orthopaedics

Professor Richard Jones (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, the University of Sheffield) and Professor Paul Harrison (Pro Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University) invite you to attend the upcoming Managing Directors’ Club event hosted at JRI Orthopaedics.

This event will focus on the importance of creating a culture of innovation within businesses, exploring how sometimes innovation needs to reach beyond enhanced products to influence leadership, employee engagement and productivity.

Keith Jackson (Managing Director, JRI Orthopaedics) will be sharing his experience and knowledge of innovation cultures. JRI Orthopaedics are one of the region’s leading innovative SMEs, demonstrated by their win at this year’s Made in Sheffield awards, and triple win at the North of England Excellence Awards. Other industry speakers at the event include Mike Maddock (Managing Director, PES Performance) and David Latimer (Chief Executive Officer, Magnomatics).

For futher details including registration please contact

The Managing Directors’ Club showcases the importance of design in innovation amid a week of med-tech events across the Sheffield City Region. 


The Managing Directors’ Club continues to promote collaboration between regional SME’s, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. The 3rd event this year focused on the importance of design in innovation, and why design must be factored in at the start of the innovation process not as an afterthought. The event particularly focused on the med-tech sector adding to a week-long festival of events including Innovations in Healthcare Conference and Design4Health.

The event was fully booked to see Sebastian Conran, one of Britain’s leading product designers and Designer in Residence at the University of Sheffield. With a long history of working on collaborative ventures to create innovate and inspiring designs both with universities and industry, Sebastian is perfectly placed to share this knowledge with the Managing Directors’ Club and inspire new projects.  Talking us through innovation for the future Sebastian explained that we “can’t assume that future elderly generations will be the same as now” and we must innovate for the future. On showcase and causing a stir at the event was Miro, the biomimetic companion robot which develops a unique personality responding to those around it.

Following Sebastians’s talk we heard from Professor Wendy Tindale, Scientific Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who stated that ‘yes’ the NHS does do innovation but explaining the challenges that are faced. Wendy went on to explain the importance of directly understanding end-users needs when engineering new medical devices and sharing an inspiring film from ‘Devices for Dignity’.

Professor Richard Jones (Pro Vice- Chancellor for Research, University of Sheffield) and Professor Paul Harrison (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Sheffield Hallam University) rounded up the event as attendees moved to enjoy the jazz band, food and networking.  75% of attendees surveyed stated they made a new and useful contact as a result of the event and 100% said they would definitely consider attending future events from the MD Club.

13th July 2015 – Sebastian Conran: Design for Innovation, Monday 13th July

Join us this summer for BBQ style food and jazz and hear from Sebastian Conran on the importance of design and innovation in research collaborations.

Sebastian Conran is one of Britain’s leading product designers. He works alongside researchers to promote and embed best-practice in design and production of high quality prototypes. Consequently investors and industrial partners are able to conceptualise a market ready product and give insight into potential manufacturing processes.

Come along and find out more about the projects Sebastian has worked on and the benefits it has brought to industry and academia.

For registration and full details please click here.


11th May 2015 – Exploring what’s possible: Kelham Island Museum.

Following on from the success of the inaugural dinner, Sheffield Universities’ Managing Directors’ club are hosting an evening to explore what’s possible when industry and academia collaborate.

The event will showcase a variety of exhibitions from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, in the surroundings of the iconic Kelham Island Museum, with case studies presented by industry speakers.

  • Explore exhibitions and meet key academics from some of the Universities’ major translational research centres.
  • Hear industry case studies from companies with experience of university collaboration.
  • Speak to representatives about the practicalities of collaboration and what funding opportunities are available.
  • Discuss gaining access to high quality skills from apprentices through to post graduates.

A drinks reception and catering will be provided, with the chance to view the museum and River Don Engine.

Please register your place at the event here.


19th March 2015 – Understanding Funding Opportunities Workshop: Horizon2020 / EEN

Following on from feedback received at the initial Managing Directors’ Club event, we want to offer this Horizon 2020 funding workshop. Learn about the opportunities and gain the insights to make informed decisions about this funding opportunity.


Speaking at the event will be Dr Jane Watkins.
Jane has over ten years’ experience as a UK National Contact Point and has developed a broad knowledge of the Framework Programmes. As your NCP Jane can help you with a free confidential service to give you a better understanding of opportunities, application, administrative and implementation issues around the SME Instrument which is new in Horizon 2020.


A representative from the Enterprise Europe Network will also be speaking

The EEN is your local gateway to a wealth of information on doing business, finding collaborative partners and increasing your competitiveness in Europe.  In addition, the EEN will soon be delivering regional support for Innovate UK.


For full details and registration visit:


02 Feb 2015 – The Managing Directors’ Club launches successfully as both Universities’ explain they’re “open for business”

Wednesday 4th February saw the launch event of the Managing Directors’ Club with an inaugural dinner at Sheffield Hallam University. The event was hosted by Professor Richard Jones (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Sheffield) and Professor Paul Harrison (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University) and saw a talk to inspire collaboration and innovation from the keynote speaker Professor Roy Sandbach.

Professor Paul Harrison said: “It’s great to begin this series of events that aim to increase the amount of collaboration between Sheffield’s two universities and businesses in the region.

Professor Richard Jones added: “The Managing Director’s Club is an innovative way to engage with businesses to kick start those conversations and develop new and existing partnerships”

With close to a hundred attendees, there were some great comments from industry too. Michael Parden, Managing Director, B Braun Sterilog Ltd said: “I have been really impressed with tonight’s launch event. There has been a great energy in the room, Roy was a very inspiring speaker and already I have made some great contacts both with other businesses and academics from both universities.”

Click here to read to full press release on the event.

MD Club - 4th February


2nd Feb 2015 – Sheffield Universities’ Managing Directors’ Club upcoming Inaugural Dinner

The Managing Directors’ club will officially launch on the 4th February. This inaugural dinner, hosted at Hallam Hall, will welcome Professor Roy Sandbach as a key note speaker alongside Professor Richard Jones (Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield) and Professor Paul Harrison (Pro Vice Chancellor, Hallam University).

Roy is Chair of the Innovation Board for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and developed the region’s innovation strategy. Until 2012, Roy held senior global R&D positions with Procter & Gamble and is a global expert on open innovation and brand-building.

Professor Roy Sandbach

Professor Roy Sandbach