Programme team


Brendan Ludden

Head of Licensing & Ventures, Physical Sciences

A seasoned innovator and strategic thinker with entrepreneurial drive and proven management ability. 

Brendan has extensive experience in championing new concepts and bringing new products to market. He has worked in both large process driven corporations and small enterprising start-ups. The author of numerous patents, he has a track record of providing the creative vision in any team he joins, frequently having the leadership role and getting the best out of the people he works with.


Charo Bajo

Project Manager

Charo joined Oxford Science Enterprises in July 2020. Charo has experience in supporting startups as a coordinator of the Oxford University Innovation (OUI) Incubator.

Prior to OUI, Charo worked in academic publishing for over 20 years. She led teams delivering training programmes in digital publishing for suppliers across Europe, US and Asia. She was also a business development advisor (VSO-CUSO volunteer) for agriculture micro-enterprises in the Lindl region of Tanzania. Charo is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Practitioner.

She has a BA in Geography and History and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. Charo manages the Student Entrepreneurship Programme (StEP), the Enterprise Labs accelerator programme; OSE business insights and websites.


Catherine Spence

Deputy Head of Licensing & Ventures – Physical Sciences

Cath studied Physics at Durham University before taking a graduate role at STC, a large telecoms business, working on the design and development of early commercial fibre optic based telecoms systems. She returned to Durham to complete an MSc in Microelectronics before heading back south to work for Analog Devices in Newbury working on custom ASIC design. In 1991 she joined Cadence Design Systems first as an application engineer, progressing to the business consulting group, working with an international portfolio of clients in the use of complex modelling in the design of electronic circuits.

Taking a career change while the children were young, Cath set up a training consultancy working in the field of electronic design. There followed a period in local government in a business development role prior to a return to the electronics industry in a specialist software start-up based in Thame where Cath had responsibility for management of their IP portfolio during their initial development phase. When the role came to an end, she again set up her own business, this time working in the field of business strategy for small businesses. This led naturally to the role of technology transfer manager at the University of Reading which she joined in 2009, promoted to head of the group in 2011. During her time there she was responsible for commercialisation and spin out activities across the complete range of subjects.

Cath joined Oxford University Innovation in January 2017 as a Senior Technology Transfer Manager.


Gelly Gnissios

Senior Licensing & Ventures Manager - Incubator Lead

I am driven to bring out the best in entrepreneurs and founders, by blending expertise and perspective with fit-for-purpose support to identify areas of growth, remove barriers to success, and build networks and ecosystems to advance innovation and value creation.

I have a diverse background from owning and operating an award winning restaurant to holding multiple C-suite roles or Board of Director roles for public and private corporations. These roles have included CEO, CFO, Board Chair, investor representative, non-executive director, and audit chair. My experience brings particular expertise in strategy development, corporate governance, and financial management.

Contributing as a panellist, guest lecturer, or speaker for executive and graduate education, I address the topics of entrepreneurship, employability, corporate governance & finance, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As an Innovation & Growth advisor, I work with innovative startups and SMEs to identify drivers of growth and develop strategies to realize that growth. Applying my own experience as an entrepreneur and business owner, I work with clients to remove internal and external barriers by challenging assumptions while offering direct and tangible action pathways. I bring new perspectives and network connections to support ventures in establishing strategies and practical approaches to achieving their goals.

As an entrepreneur, I appreciate the chaos and challenge of building a new venture, including momentum swings, the challenge of maintaining a strategic view while working in the details, and the high demands placed on a founding team. I work to actively contribute to and build out a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and startups, recognising the value-add of network connections, the ‘right’ team, and valuable advisors.