Confirmed speakers

Anisah Osman Britton
Director at Backstage London

Anisah is the founder of 23 code street, a coding school based in London for all women and non-binary people. With a percentage of their profits, they teach digital skills to women in the slums of Mumbai. Anisah is also the Director of Backstage Capital London- a venture capital firm that invests in women and non-binary people, people of colour, and those who identify as LGBTQ+.


Ana Avaliani
Head of Enterprise at Entreprise Hub


Ana heads up the Enterprise Hub team at the Royal Academy of Engineering supporting technology entrepreneurs on their journey of setting up and growing innovative engineering companies. Ana started her career in a technology start-up overseeing introduction of a number of innovative products and services to market. Ana’s most recent role before the Academy was with the technology and innovation consultancy, PA Consulting Group, where she worked with a wide range of clients on business growth, innovation and economic growth projects, including an assignment setting up a technology hub in Beirut, Lebanon.

Anna French
Deputy Head at DFID India


Anna French is the Deputy Head of DFID India and leads its portfolio on Urban, Energy and Green Growth. Before heading to India, Anna was Head of DFID’s Education Policy Team for 4 years.  Anna has been with DFID for over 15 years and has extensive experience in policy development and leading and managing programmes in fragile states including in Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. During this time she also worked for 2 years as a Senior Policy Adviser on Africa in the Cabinet Office, advising the Prime Minister on UK policy to Africa.

Boonrat Lohwongwatana
LIF fellow, Director at Biomedical Engineering Research Center and Co-founder of Meticuly

Dr. Boonrat is a professor of metallurgical engineering at Chulalongkorn University. He has received numerous awards including both Thailand Young Metallurgist award and Thailand Young Technologist award from Princess Mahachakkri Sirindhorn, as well as applied research awards such as Research Award, and Innovation Award from the Santa Fe Symposium for jewelry manufacturing technology and Research Commercialisation award. He has pioneered the 3D printing of biomedical titanium for orthopedic and neuro-plastic applications with fully customized design.

Dominika Behounek
Co-Founder of Arya Audio Labs

Dominika is a founder and engineering director of Arya Audio Labs, a company developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art hi-fi audio equipment. She brings her expertise from  different fields of research including electro-mechanics of human hearing, acoustic adaptation of concert halls and spatial audio for VR and AR, to position her company at the forefront of innovation in the field of sound reproduction. She is an Enterprise Fellow at the Royal Academy of Engineering where she works towards a successful commercialisation of Arya’s key product – the AirBlade loudspeaker.

Doralyn Chan
Funding Manager at Entrepreneur First

Doralyn advises and supports world-class tech founders at Entrepreneur First (EF). She is responsible for the Singapore, Bangalore and Hong Kong portfolio companies and has helped over 100 technical founders navigate the fundraising process and develop effective funding strategies.


Feng Tian
Chairman & CEO at Phomera Metamaterials Inc.

Dr Tian finished his master in polymer chemistry and physics at Fudan University before he completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He then worked as a Michelin Research Fellow and a postdoc researcher at Harvard SEAS.


Hussam Sultan
Head, Commercial and Transaction Banking at CIMB Islamic Bank in Malaysia

Hussam is an experienced international Islamic banking and finance professional whose interests include product development, commercial banking, international trade, poverty alleviation, Fintech and environmental sustainability.  He is currently working as Head, Commercial and Transaction Banking at CIMB Islamic Bank in Malaysia.  Before joining CIMB Islamic Hussam worked most recently as Head, Commercial Banking at HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad and prior to that he worked for the Dubai based investment firm Fajr Capital on various roles and selected strategic projects which saw him seconded to Brunei Darussalam to lead the product transformation at Brunei’s leading Islamic bank, BIBD.   He also held positions at HSBC Amanah in both the UK and Dubai offices, working in business development, product development, structuring and compliance.  He played a pivotal role in growing the HSBC Amanah business in the UK and was involved in the launch of innovative Islamic retail and corporate banking products at BIBD. 
Hussam has a BEng (Hons) in Civil and Structural Engineering from University College London (UCL), UK, and an MSc in Environmental Management for Business from Cranfield University, UK, with research focus on Sustainable Banking.

Lilyana Abdul Latiff
CEO & CoFounder at BETA Foundation


Lilyana Abdul Latiff is a “CTO-For-Hire” for several tech-based startups. She helps young businesses create products on solid architecture, scalable, and yet working within constraints and limited resources that startups have.



Manuel Biermann
Managing Partner at Unifier Ventures

Manuel has an entrepreneurial background founding, supporting and investing into startups since his early twenties. His entrepreneurial track record includes early stage involvement at companies like KONUX (first employee, raised 51 million euros, founded 2014) and qmbase (founder, bootstrapped, triple-digit customer base, founded 2016). Most recently, as one of the first team members, he built up the Company Builder Bridgemaker in Berlin, Germany (~100 employees, founded 2016) which started several new ventures with bigger corporate partners from various industries including VAI Trade (founded 2016), Ben Fleet Services (founded 2018) and uptodate (founded 2018). At Unifier Ventures he brings in his operational experience on both sides: evaluating and supporting early-stage startups as well as building new ventures from scratch for the Southeast Asian market.

Mike Short FREng
Chief Scientific Advisor at Department for International Trade (DIT)

After 30 years in telecommunications with Telefonica Dr Mike Short CBE joined the Department for International Trade (DIT) as the department’s first Chief Scientific Adviser.



Nguyen Minh Tan
LIF fellow, Director at the Institute for Research & Development of Natural Products (INAPRO)


Nguyen holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. She is a lecturer in Chemical Engineering at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology. Since 2012 she is the Director of the Institute for Research and Development of Natural Products at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology in Vietnam. Nguyen is a LIF fellow and is proud of her invention: Apparatus and Method for Evaporation to Concentrate Heat Sensitive Substance in Solution at Moderate Temperature and Ambient Pressure which has won the Silver Prize at the Korean International Women’s Invention Exposition 2019 hosted by the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

Nitesh Kumar Jangir
LIF fellow, Co-founder at Coeo Labs


Nitesh K. Jangir is an Electronics Engineer with a focus on Embedded System Design, with experience that includes stints at defense, industrial automation, medical devices, etc. Nitesh is a co-founder of Coeo Labs, a medical device company with a vision to prevent preventable deaths in the field of emergency and critical care.

Norman Apsley FREng
Chair of the steering group for the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme

Norman has a passion for putting academic science and engineering to work, in new products and services. After some twenty years at what is now known as QinetiQ Malvern, where he developed a reputation for successfully working with universities and industry and for commercialising and diversifying of government research, he became in 2000, the first Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Science Park Foundation Limited (now known as Catalyst). This project was one of the major economic initiatives established in NI after the Good Friday Agreement. The project led the way, showing that Government, local and national, Academe (Queens University, Belfast (QUB), University of Ulster (UU) and Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC)) and the Private Sector could work together to achieve a vibrant Knowledge Economy for the city of Belfast and for the country as a whole. Norman was elected to the Royal and Irish Academies of Engineering and awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 for services to science and the economy. He is Chair of the Steering group for the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships.

Paul Burmester
Head of Innovation & Partnerships at Singtel innov8

Paul has driven 6 successful exits during his career and has focused on building up early stage privately funded technology businesses to the point of market success and profitable exit through IPO or acquisition.




Ric Parker FREng
Special Advisor on technology and technology transfer

Richard (Ric) Parker is an independent Special Advisor, working with various companies and institutions in the fields of technology strategy and technology transfer. Clients include, BP, Rolls-Royce, LG Fuel Cells and A-Star, Singapore.



Datuk IR. DR. Siti Hamisah Tapsir
Director General Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education Malaysia

Datuk Ir. Dr. Siti Hamisah Tapsir is currently the Director General at the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education Malaysia. She was deeply involved in the development of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) and currently tasked to implement the initiatives outlined in the Blueprint for the public and private higher education institutions. 

Siva Devireddy
Founder & CEO at GoCoop

Siva Devireddy is the Founder & CEO of a global marketplace for weavers and artisans. Siva is passionate about technology innovations that drive social and economic inclusion of people at the bottom of the pyramid. Siva has over 18 years of global experience starting his career in Bay area/Silicon valley.




Dr Suraya Sulaiman
Executive Director of Alpha Catalyst Consulting (ACC)

An Asian Innovation Thought Leader, Dr Suraya has been played an active role in designing and implementing innovation strategies at a national level and corporate level. She is particularly passionate about looking at the people side of innovation implementation and leadership, focusing on aspects relating to innovation culture and capability.