Meet the Team

A group picture of the SME Support team.

A head-shot of Rooqia

Rooqia Malik

Head of Strategic Projects and Partnerships (Regional)


As Head of Strategic Projects and Partnerships, Rooqia works with academics, researchers, industry and professional services to develop regionally led strategic opportunities leading to research innovation, business support and product development and processes. Over the last 20 years Rooqia has worked within further education and various government agencies on policy, project management and change transformation. 

Michael SmallMikeSmall

Business Engagement Manager  (AMCASH)


Mike is Business Engagement Manager within AMCASH, based at the University of Birmingham’s School of Metallurgy and Materials.  Focussed on materials, AMCASH delivers short-term support to enable West Midlands-based SMEs to improve, or create new, products and processes.  AMCASH provides access to the University of Birmingham’s materials science expertise and state-of-art facilities.
Mike joined the AMCASH team following ten years in the group marketing department of HVAC giant, BDR Thermea Group.  Mike has held management positions in leading companies across a range of industries, including polymers and building products. His roles have involved both working for, and supporting, SMEs within UK- and EU-funded projects.

A head-shot of LucyLucy Caton

Research Development Officer


As Research Development Officer for Strategic Funds, Lucy oversees the management and delivery of block grant funding allocated to the University such as the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account and Wellcome Trust Institutional Support Fund. Lucy studied English at the University of Leicester and worked in a variety of research support roles at other Universities before joining the University of Birmingham. 

PersonIpek Faria

Business Engagement Officer (ARLI)


As Business Engagement Officer in the ARLI Project, Ipek is using her creative skills to boost the awareness of the project and the benefits of the circular economy to SMEs in eligible LEP areas through impact focused marketing. Ipek was awarded a First Class degree, with international experience, in Media Production from Coventry University. During her degree, Ipek worked as a photographer and videographer before starting her career before progressing to Programme Officer where she developed and delivered a series of Social Enterprise training programmes both across the West Midlands and Internationally. As Business Engagement Officer in the ARLI Project, Ipek is using her creative skills to boost the awareness of the project and the benefits of the circular economy to SMEs in eligible LEP areas through impact focused marketing.

Sureena Small

Sureena Sohal

Project Manager (ATETA)


Sureena previously worked for the West Midlands Manufacturing Consortium as a Team Leader of the Project Management Office, which delivered the Manufacturing Advisory Service programme. Prior to this she worked on delivering the Business Link contract at Advantage West Midlands, again supporting West Midlands based SMEs. 
Sureena is responsible for managing the ATETA project, providing strategic direction and management to ensure that the project delivers in line with ERDF guidelines.

A head-shot of Al-AminAl-Amin Dabo

Business Engagement Manager (DIGI-RAIL)


Al-Amin is responsible for business engagement activities in the Digital Rail Demand-led Demonstrator (DIGI-RAIL) project, which showcases and offers long-term technical and innovation support to businesses looking to develop digital products and services for the rail industry. Prior to his time here, Al-Amin worked in the business engagement arena with the European Bioenergy Research Institute, Aston University. 

A head-shot of BenBen Dobson

Research Development Administrator 


As Research Development Administrator, Ben oversees post-award support for the University’s portfolio of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, coordinating project set up processes and ongoing support across a variety of projects. Ben also supports the delivery of block grant funding allocated to the University. Ben joined the University of Birmingham in 2015 and worked in a range of student administration roles before moving into research support. 

A head-shot of Phil

Phil Hamilton

Business Engagement Manager (AMTECAA)


As Business Engagement Manager for the AMTECAA programme, Phil supports manufacturing SMEs looking to develop new products and processes using advanced manufacturing technologies including: Additive, Subtractive and Hybrid Manufacturing; Surface Engineering; and Robotics & Automation. Prior to this role, Phil worked for Warwick Manufacturing Group and a midlands-based SME in the surface engineering sector.

LoreleiDr Lorelei Gherman

Business Engagement Manager (ATETA)

Tel: 07748 328818

As a Business Engagement Manager on ATETA, Lorelei is helping address industrial decarbonisation through lor carbon and energy-efficiency projects. Lorelei has 13 years of research and engineering experience, having worked in technology transfer projects involving both academia and industry. She has taken a special interest in bringing innovation to SMEs and is keen on using her research and engineering expertise in supporting knowledge exchange and industrial collaborations. She is experienced in accelerating impact and research opportunities, helping develop projects from pitch to market.   

A head-shot of DerekDerek Sear

Business Engagement Manager (DEMAND-Hub)

Tel: 07763 012 546Email:

As Business Engagement Manager for DEMAND-Hub, Derek fosters relationships between University academics and SMEs to support medical technology and Life Science businesses across the region. Support ranges from intellectual property, concept development, design of experiments, usability (user) studies and human factors engineering, clinical trials, funding opportunities, certification (CE mark) and quality implementation. Derek studied Business at Wolverhampton University and has worked at a senior level in the private sector for some of the UK’s fastest growing businesses.

A head-shot of PaulPaul Cornick

Business Engagement Manager (Science 2 Industry)

Tel: 07759076531Email:

 As Business Engagement Manager for Science 2 Industry, Paul leads the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Midlands Centre industrial engagement function.  STFC is one of the 7 UKRI research councils and also manages the UK’s big science facilities. The STFC Midlands Centre is hosted by the University of Birmingham and it provides a gateway for businesses to access STFC facilities with Bridging for Innovators (B4I) funding where appropriate. Paul has an extensive track record of working for, with and through large complex public sector organisations to deliver economic development outcomes for UK plc. 


Rupi Pahal

Project Manager (AMCASH)


Rupi is the Project Manager for AMCASH and joined the University of Birmingham in October 2021. Rupi’s responsibilities include providing strategic direction and management to ensure the £7.0m AMCASH project is delivered in compliance with ERDF guidelines. Rupi has extensive project management experience having worked in a number of industrial sectors and departments prior to joining the University.

A head-shot of KateKate Jermey

Business Engagement Manager (KTP)

Tel: 07818 580260Email:

Kate works with businesses, specifically SMEs, to help them innovate and grow by accessing the facilities and expertise available at the University of Birmingham, as well as engaging with the regional and national funding programmes which can support R&D activity. Working specifically with ERDF and Innovate UK funding schemes, Kate can work with you to understand the challenge facing the business, and help identify the right academics for the job, and to apply for the right grant. Kate also runs the University of Birmingham Business Club, a regular networking event for businesses and academics to get together to discuss topics of interest. 

A head-shot of Julian

Julian Moore

Business Engagement Manager (AMCASH)


Julian is Business Engagement Manager within AMCASH, based at the University of Birmingham’s School of Metallurgy and Materials, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Julian provides opportunities for SMEs to explore and develop their measurement, inspection and monitoring capabilities through access to technical support, world-class facilities and specialist technologies, including quantum. Julian studied Business and Marketing at the University of Wolverhampton and following successes within the soft drinks, social housing and community regeneration sectors, has spent the last 17 years developing and promoting successful engagements between academia and industry (SMEs) for West Midlands-based higher education establishments. 


Dolly Chakraborty

Business Engagement Officer (AMCASH)


Dolly Chakraborty is the Business Engagement Officer for AMCASH, a part-funded ERDF programme co-ordinated through the School of Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham. She supports the AMCASH Business Engagement Managers to proactively engage with SMEs in the West Midlands area. Dolly’s role involves attending and organising events industry fairs/workshops, and providing marketing and communications support for the project.

 Dolly comes from a marketing and communications background and has held a number of positions at the University of Birmingham ranging from business engagement; digital marketing and communications; international recruitment; UK and international events. She has experience of working with companies such as IBM, Deloitte, Accenture, and PWC, where she actively engaged with the businesses to work with the University.

A head-shot of JonJon Roberts

Business Engagement Manager (ARLI)

Tel: 07970 397 600Email:

As Business Engagement Manager in the ARLI project (Civil Engineering), Jon manages the relationship with organisations, supporting their engagement in the exciting Alternative Raw materials with Low Impact (ARLI) project, driving the delivery of innovations and research collaborations in Waste, Materials, Construction & Infrastructure. Jon studied Biology (BSc Hons) and Environmental Sciences (MSc) at the University of Southampton, before working as a Sustainability Consultant on international projects and then nationally within the Construction and Waste Management sectors.

A head-shot of RebeccaRebecca Jevons

Project Manager (DEMAND-Hub)


As a Project Manager, Rebecca supports a team of academics and business engagement managers to deliver DEMAND Hub, a project that supports SMEs in, or looking to enter, the healthcare market in the Black Country, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Coventry & Warwickshire, and Stoke-On-Trent & Staffordshire LEP regions. Rebecca studied at Cambridge and the School of Oriental and African Studies before working in various countries across West Africa for several years in international development.

PersonChristopher Lenaghan

Marketing, Communications and Events Officer


As Marketing, Communications and Events Officer Chris works closely with the business support programmes and the University of Birmingham Business Club. Chris works on the planning and delivery of events, the creation of marketing material, managing social media channels and maintaining the team website. Chris has a background in live event and video production, user research, IT and design across a variety of different sectors.

A head-shot of MilaMilla Shah

Project Manager (AMTECAA)


 As Project Manager for AMTECAA, Milla manages the £7.0m ESIF project focusing on Advanced Manufacturing Technologies to Create, Activate and Automate that applies to many different sectors. Milla has previously held a number of roles including Research, Business, Innovation and Project Manager with extensive experience of working in many industrial sectors, academic and multi-disciplined environments.

A head-shot of MarifeMarifé Zudaire

Project Manager (ARLI)


Marifé joined the University of Birmingham in 2017 to work as Project Manager for the ERDF-funded ARLI project for the School of Engineering. Marifé originally studied Business Administration and Finance at the Basque Country University and is a qualified Prince2 Practitioner. Over the last 20 years, Marifé has managed collaborative international projects and institutions. She has worked in universities and also as an external consultant in the private sector. Her area of expertise is regional development (SMEs and microbusinesses).