Sussex Innovation Center
Case Study

Mike Herd, Sussex Innovation Centre


“Nigel is refreshingly blunt and will take a very business pragmatic view of things…”

Mike Herd


The Sussex Innovation Centre has been going for twenty-one years and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Sussex. The Centre provides advice and support for early stage companies who are developing innovations. This has been steadily expanded to include academic research and its commercialisation as well as the students of the University through the programme Startup Sussex.

With a wide variety of stakeholders, the Centre’s board is often faced with conflicting strategies. These come from the university itself, providing value for members as well as being financially self-sufficient. Nigel’s role as a non-executive director allows him to cut through some of the tensions faced at board level while keeping the organisation on its strategic path.


“…he can sometimes ask the questions of the University that I can’t.”

Mike Herd


Nigel has played an instrumental role within the Innovation Centre, working alongside other non-executive directors in balancing out these tensions and advising on an appropriate strategy. One of his primary roles has been to hold the shareholders to account - which he has done effectively by citing his own use of the innovation services provided by the centre, to take ideas forward. Whether this is from bringing a business focus to meetings or communicating with the Vice Chancellor Nigel has brought his experience and expertise to the role.


“…he has a great network of people, so I’ve used him as a specific mentor and have sent people to him to get advice on different areas of their business. He’s been very constructive on that.”

Mike Herd