On 4th October the NCV community gathered for the 2012 Spring Formal Dinner. Formal Dinners are an important part of life at NCV, where the community hears from a distinguished person in the university or wider community. Earlier in the year we had heard from barrister Ms Angela Pearman and ecologist Professor Richard Kingsford. For the Spring Dinner the Speaker was Dr Kevin Cullen, who is the current CEO of New South Innovations (NSI), the commercialization arm of UNSW.
Kevin has had a long career in research commercialization. Prior to joining NSI, he was Director of Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow. Kevin has also worked for Procter & Gamble in the UK and Belgium, in the fields of technical brand management, product development, and technology development. In addition to his significant commercial experience, Kevin holds a PhD in physical-organic chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. More recently, Kevin has been involved in the development of new approaches to improve knowledge exchange to the benefit the economy and society. In particular, Kevin led the launch of the Easy Access IP initiative, designed to significantly increase the flow of knowledge from the university into the economy and society.
At the dinner Kevin spoke about the challenges in quantifying the outputs of research and assessing the university’s “impact” in the broader society. He also challenged the understanding of university commercialization departments as solely aiming to produce revenue streams from academic research. Kevin also gave some reflections on his own career, following his trajectory from PhD student to industrial chemist and eventually to technology transfer professional. Kevin’s talk sparked a number of interesting questions, and was warmly received by the NCV community. After his address, Johann van Hensbergen, himself a PhD student in industrial chemistry, moved an excellent vote of thanks to Kevin for sharing his wisdom with the NCV community.
During the evening attendees were also able to hear a beautiful piano recital by resident Serena Ma. Serena is currently completing her Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Laws combined degree at UNSW, but continues to play piano at a high level in addition to her studies. At the dinner Serena played Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1. It was a wonderful performance. Additionally, residents were also treated to a fabulous performance by the NCV Band and Choir, who sang the Queen hit “Somebody to Love”. The choir and band raised the roof and set the tone for a fabulous final Formal Dinner for 2012.