Professor Terry Wilkins


Career Profile & Impact

Professor Terry Wilkins has 35 years industrial and 11 years academic experience at Director level (GE Healthcare, UCL Brussels, ICI and University of Leeds respectively) as an innovator in high-value manufacturing for the medical device, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and advanced materials industry sectors, yielding substantial economic and societal impact. Examples of his innovations include:

  1. Nanoparticle free-analyte radioimmunoassay for metabolic diseases launched in 1982 yielding €5 billion of sales during patent’s lives (92% exported globally outside the UK). Thyroid diseases affect ~12% of the world population but with early detection are treatable thus prolonging health and life. The invention lives on, approved by NICE (2014), for detection and management of prostate cancer.
  2. High-throughput chemiluminescence immunoassay system making many $ billions of sales during patents’ lives. Applications include oncology, gynaecology, haematology, metabolic and infectious diseases. Business sold to Ortho in 2009 for $1 billion.
  3. Trade sale of nanoparticle clinical immunoassay robotics spin-out SME in 1988 for $12 million, from ACADE (academic developments SA), Nobel Laureate Christian de Duve’s Institute of Cellular & Molecular Pathology, Brussels, Belgium.
  4. World’s first and most successful DNA fingerprinting business (Cellmark). Huge societal impact on policing, paternity resolution and immigration since 1990  [NB: Innovation built on collaboration with Sir Alex Jeffries and Sir Alex Markham’s world-beating science]
  5. Re-engineering nano-crystallite Titanium dioxide manufacturing on the 100k.tonne/year scale for consumer products, using Raman spectroscopy and process control, returning a €2 billion/year business to £200 million profit/year, after a period of near zero profits.
  6. His team invented a novel FTIR on-line measurement and control system essential for the success of global HFC (KLEA 134a) refrigerant manufacturing plants replacing CFCs. In Sept, 2014 the UN showed HFCs have now reversed ozone layer thinning. The sector currently makes $15 billion HFC sales/year.
  7. Reducing the organic chemical pollution into the river Tees, UK by 99% in 18 months from ICI’s giant Teesside manufacturing complex. [NB: Innovation in on-line sensors, environmental engineering and large chemical complex business management]
  8. Appointed Europe’s first professor of Nanomanufacturing on joining Leeds University in 2005. He established its Nanomanufacturing Institute as an Open Innovation ecosystem ranging over: a) nanomedicine, b) industrial nanomaterials, c) nanoelectronics d) EHS risks of engineered nanoparticles and e) management science and policy making for emergent technology manufacturing.

UK & EU Research and Innovation Policy
​Success as an industrial innovator has led to service pro bono as a high-level expert advisor (and committee chair) to the UK government since 1992 (BIS, DTI) including the Minister of Science & Universities (2011-to date); the European Commission (since 1994) and EU Parliament (since 2008), covering, nanotechnology, advanced materials, production technologies (NMP) and the Marie Curie mobility program. His economic analysis for the EC’s NMP Directorate’s in the FP6 Expert Advisory Group (2002-6) led to it becoming the EC’s lead directorate for nanotechnology in FP7 and the EU’s annual R&I investment for nanotechnology exceeding that of the US National Nanotechnology Initiative (€2.0 billion & $1.6 billion respectively) in 2013. More recently, as chair of the NMP Expert Advisory Group 2007-14, he led the preparation of 6 orientation papers tackling the critical success factors for best practice in innovation to maximise the economic benefits from the €6.7 billion Key Enabling Technologies R&I programme in Horizon 2020 (2014-20).

EU Research & Innovation Projects Track Record
Uniquely, he has led large collaborative industrial engineering research and innovation projects in all 7 EC framework programmes from 1982 -2014 winning the UK a total grant income ~€131 million, all invested in the development of large numbers of able young engineers and scientists to work on high-value product and manufacturing technology innovations in his chosen fields of commercial application.  

Innovation Prizes, Awards & medals
His work has been recognised with 8 prizes, awards and medals in each of the last 4 decades for both new engineering science and commercial exploitation. This includes uniquely 2 prestigious Prince of Wales Prizes for Innovation and Production:

He is also a pioneer in 2 new engineering disciplines: process analytical technology [i] (PAT) and nanomanufacturing[ii]. By combining both recently, he and his colleagues have made major breakthroughs in Nano-QSARs and “Safe/Green by design” manufacturing of engineered nanomaterials,



[i] Process Analytical Technology:  Engineering of on-line ‘high information content’ measurement devices together with advanced control systems to optimise product quality, yield, process economics and accelerate regulatory approval [e.g. a) REACH for chemicals & materials in EU and b) FDA & EMA for medical products in the US and EU.

Nanomanufacturing:  Manufacturing of materials and devices wherein 1 or more dimensions of the products are at a scale of <100 nanometres

Research interests

He became Europe’s first professor of Nanomanufacturing on joining Leeds University in 2005 where his personal research ranges over:

a) nanomedicine,

b) industrial nanomaterials,

c) nanoelectronics

d) Evironment, Health & Safety (EHS)risks of engineered nanoparticles and

e) management and policy making for emergent technology manufacturing. Including:

     -  New models of innovation ecosystems for key enabling technologies (KETs)

     -  Best practice in innovation

     -  Acclerating innovation

     -  Innovation training

     - International cooperation in innovations


  • BSc Chemistry, University of London
  • PhD Chemistry University of London
  • (Low valent titanium organometallic catalysts

Professional memberships

  • Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Chartered Chemist
  • Fellowship of the Institute of Measurement & Control
  • Chartered Engineer
  • Liveryman of the Worshipful Company Scientific instrument Makers s of London
  • Freedom of the City of London

Research groups and institutes

  • Complex Systems and Processes
  • Functional Materials, Products and Devices