PGR IAA Officer Spotlight - Delika Weragoda
Tell us about yourself, why you applied for this role, and what you expected to gain
I am a second year PGR at the Centre for Automotive Engineering in School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences working on ‘Battery Thermal Management in EVs’. Searching for part time work and coming across this role made me curious as to what it would bring about if I got selected. I did not have any idea about IAA and all the programmes around it. However, the experience thus far has been wonderful and exciting.
How would you define ‘innovation’, how does it fit within an academic environment, and how is it relevant? Has your definition changed since working in this role?
In an academic environment, innovation can vary from revolutionary ideas that change the world to something as simple as teaching a particular lesson in an innovative manner, that makes individual enthusiastic about what they learn. It is a fact that a particular individual will transform themselves according to the society and environment they grow up in. Therefore, in an academic environment, when undergrads and postgrads are exposed to innovative work around them, they will also find themselves driven towards a path to innovativeness.
What do you think are the biggest barriers to innovation for researchers at Surrey, in particular within your Dpt or Faculty, and how do you suggest we address these?
The biggest barrier for innovation, in my point of view, at times, is the opportunities that a particular individual or a group of people get. Opportunities can vary from things like funding and facilities to other limitations and boundaries such as limited opportunity for research that interests them. Finding the correct expertise, in academia or industry, especially someone who can guide you through the initial stages of research isn’t an easy task. Getting a proper guidance initially would not only motivate but also create enthusiastic researcher and bring forth the innovator within you.
However, with programmes such as IAA Commercialisation Fellowships, IAA funding, etc. the search for expertise can be widened and hence provide better opportunity to ECRs to further their ideas and contribute to society.
How has your experience in the role changed your approach to innovation?
What would you say to a prospective ECR considering applying to work with the technology transfer team?
I would highly recommend working with this team. The experience and knowledge I’ve gained during the last few months has really widened my areas of interest.
Before your IAA Officer role, what was your practical understanding and application of impact, knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities?
Before your IAA Officer role, what was your understanding of IP?
Before your IAA Officer role, what was your awareness for the relevance of innovation to the academic career?
Overall, how do you feel about Innovation now?