Steve Welch

Director of the Electronics, Sensors, Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network


The Electronics, Sensors, Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network was set up in 2010 merging the work of 5 previous KTNs traversing the entire electronics and photonics technology space.


ESP KTN is committed to connecting people who don’t usually meet because that’s where the magic happens. Whether this means materials scientists talking to laser scientists about 3D printing: or farmers talking to sensors specialists about sustainable agriculture—we exist to put innovation into practical use.


A Little Bit About Me


Steve has a PhD in Astrophysics and a Master’s degree in Spacecraft Engineering. Prior to setting up ESP, Steve enjoyed a lengthy career working at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory designing and building spacecraft instrumentation, and working on the international space programmes with NASA, and the European and Japanese Space Agencies. During his time at UCL Steve also conducted research into areas around innovation, technology planning and exploitation and has taught academic courses in electronics, astronomy, and ICT; and commercial courses in ‘Systems Engineering’ and ‘Technology Management’  for several large companies.


Steve is very experienced at transferring technology between application areas, and has brought a more ‘challenge-led’ approach to the business of knowledge sharing, working with a team who are skilled at ‘translating’ between the different languages that can exist between different end-users and technology developers.





What I’ll Be Talking About

Innovation can be about ‘new’ or about ‘new to me’, and powerful outcomes can happen when new ideas are brought to problems that need solving. There are a number of supporting mechanisms available to help companies discover and exploit opportunities, and this session will look at some of these and how to access them.

With the wealth of technology and innovation in academic and research institutions, engaged commercial enterprises and a vibrant entrepreneurial community, Oxfordshire has an innovation ecosystem that can support the creation and development of new and early-stage businesses.


Oxfordshire’s Innovation Ecosystem & Business Support Programme

The InnovationSupport for Business (ISfB) programme provides Funding, Skills training, access to Facilities and, through a team of “Network Navigators”, connectivity between companies, to build collaboration within and between sectors and clusters.


The session will include brief presentations on the programme’s deliverables and objectives and a panel session, with audience participation, to answer the question “How can we drive innovation, and create and support innovative businesses in Oxfordshire?”


Following the launch of the ISfB programme in the opening plenary session, the objectives of this session are to:

  • Describe the objectives of the programme in both the local and the national context
  • Drill down into what the deliverables from the programme are
  • Discuss what works, how best to link between local and nationally provided support and how to achieve cross-sectoral links
  • Highlight examples of innovation and cross-sectoral collaboration that the programme has already made happen
  • Get suggestions and feedback from the audience on what needs to be added to the programme and/or done better
  • Get “ambassadors” involved in the programme


Panel Members:

  • Dave Waller (chair) – Oxfordshire Innovation Support for Business (ISfB) Programme Manager
  • Phil Clare – Associate Director, Research Services and Head of Knowledge Exchange University of Oxford
  • Steve Welch – Domain Director Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
  • Peter Dirken – Strategic Partnership Manager Technology Strategy Board (TSB)
  • Julian Jantke – MD Oxford Space Structures


Network Navigators:

  • Neil Halliday – Life Sciences
  • Colin Johnston – Advanced Engineering
  • Tony Hart – Digital & Media
  • Anne Augustine – Low Carbon
  • Caroline Bucklow / Grant Hayward – Social Enterprises
  • Mark Evans – Entrepreneurs & Investors
  • Karyn Buck – SMEs & Retail
  • John Vandore – Cryogenics (not able to attend session)
  • Stephen Ringler – Space & Satellite Applications


0930 – 1030    Innovation Stream     Lecture Theatre 5