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De-Mystifying the Deal'


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Speaker Information

Professor Emma Flynn
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise

As Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Flynn is responsible for enhancing the University's high-performing and innovative research environment. She also cultivates and advances effective relationships and collaborations with key institutional partners, including funders, government, health bodies, businesses and charities at regional, national and international level, driving the University's world-leading reputation for research excellence and its contribution to economic growth.

A senior academic leader within Queen's, Professor Flynn is a member of the University's Executive Board, which is responsible for steering and supporting the strategic direction of the University.

Professor Flynn is a leader in her research field – developmental and comparative psychology – with multiple international and inter-disciplinary collaborations. Her core research concern is how humans acquire their culture, and how culture changes.

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Suzanne Wylie
Chief Executive, Belfast City Council

Suzanne Wylie took up the post of Chief Executive of Belfast City Council in 2014.

During her time, she has built strong relationships with the private and wider public sector – pitching Belfast globally as a great place to live, work, visit and invest. 

Suzanne has led the creation of and significant progress on the city’s 20-year strategy, The Belfast Agenda, which in the context of COVID-19 is more important than ever.  With the buy in of Belfast’s key stakeholders she agreed a shared vision and created long-term ambitions for the city which include job creation, inward investment, and investment in neighbourhoods and skills. This includes targets to create 46,000 new jobs and attract 66,000 more city dwellers and to achieve over £1bn of real estate investment.  The city is also focused on climate change and has set up a joint commission with the universities focused on how green investment can stimulate the economy.

Suzanne also led the charge to secure a £1bn Belfast Region City Deal – this investment will be a key pillar in how the city and its region rebuilds and recovers in the wake of COVID-19 with a huge focus on innovation and digital investment to propel competitive advantage.

Working with key city partners Suzanne is committed to weaving digital innovation into all aspects of our economy, infrastructure and healthcare services through the establishment of the city’s first Digital Innovation Partnership and has recently appointed a Digital Commissioner to help create smart innovation districts with business clusters in growth sectors such as tech and health diagnostics and analytics.

Suzanne has led the Council in its city leadership role during the response to COVID-19, and has started the careful planning for rebuilding and recovering with elected representatives and the city’s key stakeholders.

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Professor Mark Gillan
Chief Operations Officer, Artemis Technologies Ltd and Strength in Places Programme Director, Belfast Maritime Consortium.

Mark started his career in aerospace before spending 15 years in various engineering leadership roles within Formula One, most recently as head of the race team at Williams F1. Prior to joining Artemis Technologies Mark was CTO of Innovate UK, responsible for both the Strategy & Impact and Centres & Networks Governance Directorates, overseeing an annual funding portfolio of over £1/3Bn.

Dr Godfrey Gaston
Executive Director, ECIT, Queen's University Belfast

Dr Godfrey Gaston is Executive Director of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), based at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. Previous roles have included GEC Plessey Semiconductors, start-up BCO Technologies (acquired by Analog Devices) and Engineering Manager for Analog Devices. Current interests include developing models for commercialisation and innovation within a research environment, leading to economic development and the linking of cyber innovation ecosystems internationally.

Godfrey is also currently the user lead for the Global Innovation Institute (GII), a multi-disciplinary research and innovation institute, based at ECIT and part of the Belfast Region City Deal. The GII has a focus on the use of secure connected intelligence technologies in sectors such as One Health (combination of food and health sectors), financial services and advanced manufacturing.

Godfrey also co-founded start-up company, Titan IC, recently acquired by Mellanox Technologies/NVIDIA.

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