This panel will focus on local R&D funding opportunuties in the UK. There will be a presentation from Innovate UK. A case study will also be presented by a successful Turkish company which were established in the UK and had an experience on reserach funding schemes of Innovate UK.

Peter Dirken

Programme Manager– Global Missions for InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation agency.

After working in management roles in Johnson Matthey and Oxford Instruments, Peter joined the UK’s Innovation agency, Innovate UK, the government backed agency in the UK tasked with supporting businesses innovation (now part of UK Research & Innovation).

He manages Innovate UK’s Global Missions Programme, which helps UK businesses across sectors to connect with the best of global innovation. As part of this programme, Innovate UK takes innovative UK SMEs overseas to deliver bespoke programmes with international partners to create innovation partnerships that work for both countries.

Gokhan Mericliler

Co-Founder, WeWALK

Gokhan Mericliler is an experienced social impact entrepreneur and the co-founder of WeWALK; a revolutionary smart cane developed to enhance visually impaired people's mobility, independence, and participation in everyday life.

Gokhan has been a Young Guru Academy (YGA) member, a tech-driven social innovation hub, for 15 years. He has contributed to several of the YGA's Tech for Good start-ups which were recognised at summits such as CES, MWC and TIP. His leadership is exemplified through WeWALK's collaborations with industry leaders such as Microsoft and Imperial College London

Jean Marc Feghali

Imperial College London (R&D Lead @ WeWALK)

Jean Marc Feghali is a visually impaired PhD candidate at Imperial College London developing new mobility solutions for visually impaired people. He is driven by the life-changing potential of his research and its impact on assistive technology, leveraging his findings as the R&D Lead of the WeWALK smart cane, a TIME best invention of 2019.

Jean Marc also specialises in visually impaired transport accessibility and sits on Transport for London’s Independent Disability Advisory Group, as well as conducting novel mobility research that has been recognised through an Imperial College Medal for Outstanding Achievement and the Walter Redlich Prize for Academic Excellence.