BHP founder member the University of Birmingham has announced the appointment of its first Professor of Life Science Innovation. Michael Lewis joins us with an extensive background in life sciences and digital innovation in healthcare – let’s get to know him.
Where was your previous job?
I still work with five different life science and digital companies and chair funding panels for Innovate UK and the Small Business Research Initiatives scheme (SBRI) across the UK, with a real emphasis on data driven, digital healthcare. My role at the University is a bonus role.
What attracted you to the University of Birmingham?
This is like ‘Back to the Future’ but without the fancy DeLorean car, as I am a Birmingham alumni. Working with lots of private equity, venture capital and grant bodies, I saw that there was a real opportunity to bring an industrial point of view to the great science here at Birmingham and help us deliver more innovation commercially, and to benefit society overall.
What will you bring to your role?
Bags of energy and enthusiasm as well as 30 years working in healthcare and life science running multi-billion turnover companies all around the world. I like to share what I have learned and also learn myself.
What are you hoping to accomplish while at Birmingham?
I would like us to have the ability to find more innovations to commercialise, take concepts from idea to reality, gain a greater share of grant funding, double or treble the number of spinouts we create, test more innovative brilliant ideas in real world settings like Birmingham Health Partners.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
In one company we built a digital innovation to improve cancer screening, saving one woman’s life per week. The human impact of that is immeasurable.
What is your motivation for getting up in the morning?
My three dogs start barking at 6.00am wanting a walk so I don’t have a choice, but if the dogs weren’t there, I would get up enthused that today might just be the day when we discover something new and transformative.