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A new role has been appointed at Newcastle University to build strong relationships between academia and businesses.

Dr Michael Capaldi will take on the position of Dean of Innovation and Business, starting in September this year, and will become a Professor of Practice.

The newly created Deanship recognises the importance of catalysing links between academic and commercial partners to help enhance research and development opportunities in businesses.

Dr Capaldi will work across the University to facilitate links between academic and commercial partners that will increase skills provision and strengthen the University’s portfolio of external funds.

Driver of industrial economy

Dr Capaldi said: “I am really looking forward to getting started at Newcastle University and joining a team that is committed to establishing the University as a leading regional, national and international driver of the industrial economy. 

“I am inspired by the team’s focus upon academic excellence whilst being mindful of its industrial heritage, giving rise to excellent initiatives, such as its commitment to big global challenges through its National Innovation Centres or its involvement with Science City. 

“The University’s ethos aligns closely with my own, having spent nearly 30 years in industry and now using that experience to help bring industrialists and academic closer together to drive innovation in a way that is complimentary and additive.”

Dr Capaldi originally trained in medical biophysics but moved into industry where he spent time in research and development, as well as commercial roles, before moving into general management.

Half of his 26 year career in industry has been spent working for large multinational companies, the other in entrepreneurial roles as Chief Executive of small venture backed high-tech/biotech organisations.

Dr Capaldi has raised more than £60m of venture funding for smaller companies; listed two companies on the London Stock Exchange; and been involved in a number of business mergers and acquisitions.

Delivering University’s strategy

Since 2010, Dr Capaldi has worked at the University of Edinburgh where he has directed an externally funded programme that’s been successful in helping drive the region’s business engagement agenda.

The UK Government target of growing research and development investment from 1.7% to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 can primarily be delivered by closer working between academia and industry.

The new Dean will report to Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research Strategy and Resources at Newcastle University.

Professor Walker said: “We are very fortunate to have recruited Michael Capaldi to this new role.

“He brings exactly the combination of senior experience within both industry and academia that will enable us to deliver our strategy.

“Our strategy is to do great research in partnership with the end users and to train people who can grow an economy built on innovation.”

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