• About us

    Founded originally in 1962, The R&D Society aims to be the authoritative and
    representative voice of industrially-focussed R&D in the UK


    Our vision is to help make the UK the best environment in the world for research and development

    Founded more than 50 years ago, the underlying aim of the R&D Society continues to be the authoritative and representative voice of R&D in the UK. In this context, as the R&D landscape has changed, we have recognised the need to embrace such influences as globalisation, greater access to knowledge, the reduction in budgets and changes in funding mechanisms, and new areas in which R&D is taking place. We also recognise the move towards multi-faceted collaboration, the increasing importance design, and approaches such as end-user driven innovation. With all of this in mind, our focus is on making the UK one of the most attractive global environments for R&D, with a particular emphasis on realising its potential to impact social and economic wealth in the UK.

    A number of events of the past 18 months including the UK's decision to leave the European Union, the desire by the UK government to develop a new industrial strategy, as well as uncertainty for UK industry through acquisitions of companies such as Vauxhall, ARM and the threat of closure of parts of Corus have increased the need for a debate about the role of R&D in the UK and particularly how government should support it to maximise its value to the UK economy.

    Through public events, round table meetings and canvassing of opinion from key stakeholders, we seek to understand the and influence the key factors that drive industrial R&D in the UK, and maximise its contribution to UK economic and social wealth.


    To achieve its objectives the Society engages in a number of activities

    • Running of high profile events with attendance from R&D leaders and government
    • Providing input into policy relating to R&D



    We are currently looking to establish a Strategic Advisory Board that will help us direct the aims and objectives of the Society and also allow us to be seen as a credible voice for R&D in the UK. We are also looking at ways we can collaborate with other organisations with related objectives to allow us to be more effective in what we plan to do. We plan to hold an AGM within the next few months to coincide with a future event and following that to reopen membership. If you require any more information or have some suggestions for events or other ways in which the Society might develop, then please feel free to get in touch.


    President Sir Richard Sykes

    Chair Iain Simpson, IXICO

    Chief Executive 


    Executive Board

    Linda Barron, Barron Gould

    David Hughes, Business Innovation Group

    Nico Macdonald, London South Bank University

    Uday Phadke, Cartezia


    Legal and administrative

  • Who’s involved in the Society

    Our Board, Chair, President and Chief Exec

    Iain Simpson


    Iain is currently chair of the Society, a role he also held from 2008–2010. Prior to that he has held various roles within the Society, including developing a special interest group in benchmarking and best practice and being a Board member for the past 15 years.


    Iain has a 30-year track record of multidisciplinary technology and product development, including business development, project management and technology assessment in US and European markets – with a strong emphasis on medical devices and bioinstrumentation. His careers has included roles at THORN EMI, as well as several leading technology consultancies in the Cambridge Cluster. He currently works for Ixico, a London-based company focussed on developing technologies to support clinical research and clinical practice mainly in the fields of brain health and neurology.


    Iain has written and presented papers on a range of topics particularly relating to the pharmaceutical industry but also covering technology licensing and product development. He has also chaired sessions at several international conferences and presented on the UK R&D environment. He also lectures on drug delivery to the Cambridge University Masters in Bioscience course.

    Iain graduated from University College London with a first class honours degree in physics and a PhD in experimental solid state physics. He also has an MBA in Technology Management from the Open University.

    David Hughes

    Board member

    David is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and holds an MSc in Engineering and an Honorary Doctor of Technology, Loughborough University. He is a Chartered Director (IoD) and currently works with three management consultancies advising companies on innovation strategy. This has included product development projects in large companies through to working with SMEs on manufacturing strategy and business plan development.


    David has also worked on strategic development projects with City and Brunel Universities and chaired advisory Boards at City and Nottingham Universities. In 2006, David completed a four-year term with the DTI (BIS) as lead Government official developing and implementing Government policy on innovation. He was responsible for creating and establishing the widely acclaimed Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK).


    Prior to this appointment, twenty years executive level management experience with major global businesses – Ford, Lucas, GEC-Marconi and BAEsystems. Experienced manager of multinational project teams and change leader and an approved Cabinet Office project assurance reviewer.

    Linda Barron

    Board member

    Linda is co-founder of product development studio Barron Gould, based in central London. Since 1990 Barron Gould has consulted to international goods and services clients on how product improvements can be unlocked through the innovative use of technology. These solutions are enhanced by a mix of Barron Gould’s experience and know-how in style and colour trend demographics, advanced design methodologies, materials and colour science and advanced manufacturing; dimensions where clients can achieve significant competitive advantage. Clients have included DuPont, Herman Miller, Kodak, Motorola, Philips, Gillette, Exxon Mobil and UK Sport.


    For the past 10 years the consultancy has been developing technologies that work seamlessly with computer-aided design, eliminating traditional analogue interventions and enabling rapid manufacturing on an industrial scale with mass customisation potential. Barron Gould’s latest venture, driven by demand from the construction and marine industry, is to develop methods for cost-effective development of complex geometry surfaces which meet exacting requirements of accuracy, quality, cost and timely delivery.


    Linda graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, c college of the University of the Arts London, with a first-class honours degree in fashion design, and designed for Missoni in Milan for several years before founding Barron Gould with partner, John Gould.


    She is a founder and Advisory Board member of the Materials and Design Exchange, part of the Knowledge Transfer Network; the KTN is funded by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency. She is also active as a Project Monitoring Officer for Innovate UK.

    Dr Uday Phadke

    Board member

    Dr Uday Phadke read Engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge and then went on to do a PhD in Aero-thermodynamics at the University of Sussex. He has worked in a wide range of academic, technical, commercial and strategic roles in Europe, North America and Asia over the last three decades.

    He has a wide and deep technical background in a number of technology areas, including aerospace engineering, digital signal processing, remote sensing, electronics, computing & software, medical diagnostics, engineering design, media and telecommunications, financial technologies and digital media.


    He has been actively involved in the building of over 100 technology firms over the last two decades, as an advisor, mentor and investor, working closely with technology transfer offices, innovation agencies, incubators and accelerators. He has also been part of the founding team at a number of technology advisory and consulting companies since the early 1980s. Since 1997 he has been Chief Executive of Cartezia, the technology business builder based in Cambridge, UK.


    He was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge from 2011 to 2016 and is now actively involved in several innovation policy development initiatives in Europe and Asia. His new book on science and technology commercialisation, Camels, Tigers and Unicorns, was published in early 2017.

    Nico Macdonald

    Board member

    Nico Macdonald is the former chief executive of the Research & Development Society and co-author of BIG POTATOES: The London Manifesto for Innovation. Since the late 80s he has been working in R&D and innovation in media and design for clients including Euromoney Publications, the Guardian newspaper, Haymarket Publishing, Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, The Sunday Times (News UK), Creation Records, the British Film Institute, the Royal Academy, the Design Council, and the Crafts Council, as well as many of the UK’s leading communication design studios.


    He has written extensively on for publications including the Guardian newspaper, the RSA Journal, World Link (the magazine of the World Economic Forum), Eye magazine, DCM (the UK Design Council magazine), Blueprint and Creative Review in the UK, and BusinessWeek.com, PRINT, the AIGA Journal and I.D. magazine in the US. He is author of 'What is Web Design?' (RotoVision, 2003). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


    He has lectured and taught on media, design, and innovation at many universities including Goldsmiths College, the Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, and the National Film and Television School.