About

Scotland’s world-beating universities are a hotbed of new, innovative ideas and inventions. However, taking a bright idea from academia and turning it into a successful, sustainable business is no mean feat. That’s why we support university staff, students and recent graduates to do just that.

Your springboard to success

As Scotland’s largest company creation programme for the university sector, we act as a springboard to success, providing academic innovators with the skills, guidance, funding, and network they need to turn their big ideas into commercial reality. 

Local Innovation. Global Impact.

We believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to change their future and the world around them, for the better. By partnering with all 18 universities across the country, we ensure that anyone – regardless of geographical location or background– has the chance to contribute to Scotland’s economy and society. 

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Our Team

Say hello to our experienced, approachable team.

Dr. Claudia Cavalluzzo

Executive Director

Executive Director

Claudia leads the Converge team bringing dynamism, vision, leadership and creative energy to the country’s most progressive and pioneering company creation programme.

Appointed Executive Director in November 2018 following the departure of the founding director, Dr Olga Kozlova, Claudia’s previous roles include Head of Saltire Fellowship at Entrepreneurial Scotland and Deputy Director at Converge Challenge.

A former Saltire Fellow with a PhD in Organic Chemistry, Claudia’s experience spans everything from programme management and business development through to sustainability, strategic planning and commercial activity.

 

Lissa Herron

Enterprise Manager

Enterprise Manager

Lissa is our Enterprise Manager, responsible for the delivery of our outreach and training programme. As a Converge alumna, she has invaluable knowledge and expertise of the journey that our participants undertake, leveraging this insight to optimise alumni relations.

Before joining Converge, Lissa commercialised a research project from The Roslin Institute into a business unit at Roslin Technologies Limited and has in-depth experience of working with spin-outs and commercialisation of research.


Richard Cormack Corrigan, Enterprise Executive at Converge

Richard Cormack Corrigan

Enterprise Executive

Richard supports university enterprise development teams in the North East of Scotland and is based at the University of Aberdeen.

Before joining Converge, Richard worked for Young Enterprise Scotland's Elevator UK programme promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship in education and designing and delivering a range of accelerator programmes.

Brian McEwan, Enterprise Executive for Converge

Brian McEwan

Enterprise Executive

Brian provides on the ground support in the West of Scotland and covers the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, West of Scotland, Glasgow School of Art, the Royal Conservatoire and Glasgow Caledonian University. 

Brian is well known across the Scottish eco-system, guiding and connecting entrepreneurial students, researchers, and academics to our extensive support network.

Adam Kosterka

Deputy Director

Adam is responsible for managing and overseeing all aspects of Converge operations including finance, programme delivery and HR.  As part of his remit, Adam leads the strategic development of the Enterprise Team and works with Converge Executive Director, Claudia Cavalluzzo, to shape and deliver the organisation’s strategic initiatives.

Prior to joining Converge in 2017, Adam held a number of business advisor roles with Business Gateway and Scottish Enterprise and holds a Masters degree in Business Management from Edinburgh Napier University. 

 

Georgia Goodall

Marketing & Communications Manager

Marketing & Communications Manager

With 20 years’ marketing experience under her belt, Georgia brings a blend of practical, hands-on skills and strategic focus to our small but perfectly formed Marketing Department.

With a background in design, film production, event production and publishing including eight years working in London, Georgia’s remit includes marketing strategy, PR and communications.

Kathryn Slater

Events & Marketing Manager

Kathryn is an experienced marketing and events professional with a strong track record in PR, communications and event production. During her career she has held senior roles in major communications agencies and event production companies, latterly running her own successful event management business.

 

Jennifer Black

Brand Marketing Manager

Brand Marketing Manager

Part miracle worker, part magician, Jen is our longest serving team member having worked at the Converge coalface since 2013. 

Multi-skilled, focused and adept at rolling her sleeves up, Jen oversees a wide range of marketing activities including brand, social media and event management and delivery.

 

Maria Blanco-Alvarez

Senior Admin Assistant

Maria is the newest member of the team, supporting the delivery of our programme and responsible for financial processing, reporting, co-ordination, administration and logistics support.

Maria is no stranger to Heriot-Watt having studied Translation and Interpreting at the School of Languages. She also has extensive work experience in Higher Education administration including the University of Edinburgh.

 

Strategic Advisory Board

Our dynamic and experienced Strategic Advisory Board provide advice and guidance on our strategic direction. Their experience is exceptionally broad covering everything from private sector and start-up activities; international business; policy and funding; investment; and university commercialisation.

We are looking for exceptional individuals to join our Strategic Advisory Board and are particularly interested to hear from experienced University leaders; entrepreneurs, ideally with spinout experience and under-represented groups. For full details, click here.

 

Dr Liz Rattray

Director of Research and Innovation, University of Aberdeen

Dr Rattray has extensive experience of research administration, project and contract management together with commercialisation of research (from collaborating with industry, knowledge exchange, licensing to new company formation). She has held board positions with a number of companies, and previously been a member of the  Scottish Funding Council’s research committee.

The Research and Innovation section plays a key role in supporting the University to deliver upon strategic priorities for research and knowledge exchange in line with the Institutional Strategic Plan. The section provides support for research development, commercialisation, knowledge exchange, enterprise activities and provides administrative support for research policy and the newly formed Graduate School for post graduate research students. Research and Innovation  is the first point of contact for business - facilitating access to the University’s researchers, services and technologies and offering a wide range of commercial opportunities arising from the University’s research activities.

 

Joanna Goddard

Joanna Goddard is a commercial growth specialist with a track record for identifying opportunity and securing traction in niche markets fast.

She is Director of Programmes at BRIM -the nexus of cyber resilience between law enforcement & business; a Fellow of The Chartered Management Institute; a member of the Advisory Council to the School of Management and a guest lecturer at the University of St. Andrews. Joanna brings an abundance of experience in business growth in a digital era.

 

Polly Purvis

Deputy Chair

A respected Chair and NXD, Polly is Deputy Chair of Converge and recently stepped down as the founding Chair of CodeClan.   She is also a board member of Edinburgh Science, and sits on the technology advisory board for JCCA.  

Polly previously held roles as Director, ScotFIN, at IGS, the Scottish agri-tech business building leading edge vertical farming solutions, and prior to that was CEO of ScotlandIS, the trade body for the digital industries, where she founded CodeClan, Scotland’s digital skills academy. She has an honorary doctorate from the University of Abertay. 


During her career she has worked in the financial services, economic development, and digital technologies industries, and has an honours degree in Agriculture and Food Marketing. 

 

Professor Richard Williams

Professor Richard A Williams OBE FREng FTSE is the Principal and Vice Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University.  He is Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. His background is an academic and entrepreneur working in mineral, energy storage systems and environmental technologies. He has founded several business including two plcs and previously served as an elected member on Council of CBI in Yorkshire and the West Midlands. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) and a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (Australia). He is a trustee of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and Advisory Board member of the Lloyds Register Foundation.

 

Professor David Sigsworth OBE

David Sigsworth is Chairman of the Edinburgh based Sigma Capital Group plc, which specialises in property development and urban regeneration.  His background is in energy and the development of energy utility assets.  For over ten years he was a main board executive director of the FTSE 100 utility companies SSE plc and Scottish Hydro Electric plc.  Subsequently he spent eight years as Chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, stepping down in December 2015. David has an active involvement with academia as Chairman of the Advisory Boards of the Energy Technology Partnership, based at the University of Strathclyde, and the Offshore Renewables Institute at the University of Dundee where he holds an honorary professorship.

 

Dr Roddy MacDonald

Dr Roddy Macdonald is a Senior Civil Servant with the Scottish Government, where he is Head of the Higher Education and Science Division. Prior to this he was Head of Innovation, Investment and Industries Division, which led Scotland CAN DO, the Government’s framework for innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

Rhona Allison

Rhona Allison oversees Scottish Enterprise’s business support and company building functions, including our Account Management portfolio, Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, Innovation Support, Regional Selective Assistance and commercialisation. Prior to joining SE, Rhona held a variety of positions within Scottish and Global companies. Rhona is also a Board Member of Opportunity North East (ONE) a private sector Board to broaden and boost the economy of the North East of Scotland.

 

Dr Stuart Fancey

In his present role, Stuart is responsible for SFC’s research funding policy, knowledge exchange and innovation policy, SFC’s contribution to the development of the Research Excellence Framework and various other liaison activities across the Scottish and UK university and innovation landscape. His team are closely engaged with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to find opportunities to better exploit the excellence of Scotland’s university research base for economic and societal benefit.

 

Paul Atkinson

Chair

Paul is a Professional Investor, Venture Capitalist and Board Advisor with a track record of creating value for companies and investors in the technology and business services sector. He is highly active as an angel investor, having personally invested in over 30 fast growing technology companies, including Rocela Group, which was acquired by Version 1 of Ireland and Mobiqa, which was acquired by NYSE listed NCR Corporation.

 

Dr Olga Koslova

Director of Innovation and Industry Engagement, University of Strathclyde

Olga leads entrepreneurship and investment functions, industrial engagement and development of the Technology and Innovation Centre Zone within the Glasgow City Innovation District.

In her previous role, she founded Converge and grew it to become the largest Scotland-wide programme for converting university knowhow and intellectual property into company creation.

 

Professor Milan Radosavljevic

Vice-Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation & Engagement, University of the West of Scotland

Professor Radosavljevic joined UWS in December 2013 as a Professor in Civil Engineering, before being appointed to the position of Assistant Dean – Research & Enterprise in the School of Computing, Engineering & Physical Sciences in September 2014. He held the post of Associate Vice-Principal Research & Enterprise between September 2017 and May 2020, and was then appointed to his current Executive role.

He has held leadership positions across all areas of academic activity, is a member of the Universities Scotland Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee and is passionate about student enterprise and the role universities play as place-shaping anchor institutions.

 

Dr Neil Clelland

Commercial Director, Fixed Phage

Neil is Commercial Director at Fixed Phage a Biotech company in Glasgow tasked with expanding the company’s commercial activity, generating sustainable revenue, while accelerating market access through licencing and strategic partnerships. Neil is an accomplished commercial professional with experience in business development, deal structure and company creation from scientific research output, having established a strong track record in identifying and developing innovative commercial opportunities within complex scientific output and environments during his previous roles in the Biotech industry and as Head of Commercialisation and Innovation at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

He holds a PhD in quantitative genetics and a degree in agricultural science. Various roles across business and academia have equipped him with a wide-ranging skillset, enabling him to gain considerable experience in building long-lasting relationships with partner companies and key stakeholders at national and international level.

Neil has a passion for supporting the vibrant and innovative life sciences ecosystem, entrepreneurs, and businesses, and actively does this through non-executive director roles and has a particular interest in supporting and developing future leaders.