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British Council Mexico, Marcela Tinoco

Head of Innovation and Technological Management - social and health

From: Mexico

Studied: PhD in Medical Physics

UK institution: University of Sheffield

Dr Fatima Lopez is responsible for implementing a new national policy that allows the Mexican Institute for Social Security to commercialise new technologies, with royalties bringing in hundreds of millions of pesos which will be reinvested in the Mexican healthcare system. 

DESCRIBE THE COMMERCIALISATION OF INNOVATION THAT YOU’VE IMPLEMENTED IN MEXICO

I’m head of innovation and technology management at the Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS) where I manage the intellectual property generated by 500 researchers and 20,000 doctors and nurses. 

I implemented a national policy that allows IMSS to commercialise innovation by transferring technology in exchange for royalty payments. This is a big step for our health care system – to not only secure the environment that fosters and protects innovation, but to make it profitable to invest in innovation, with royalties received every time one of our technologies is transferred.

HOW DID STUDYING IN THE UK CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR SUCCESS? 

I completed a PhD in Medical Physics at the University of Sheffield, thanks to a scholarship from Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology. Studying in the UK changed the way I look at the world. It helped me to build relationships and connect with individuals from different countries with different skills and professional backgrounds. These people shaped my vision and personal goals and have been instrumental in my own career and success. I am still in contact with many people from this professional network, and we have collaborated on projects together. 

Studying in the UK also added value to my CV.

The international reputation of UK universities means that a graduate from a UK university has an attractive, well-balanced skillset that employers look for. 

HOW WILL THIS NEW POLICY BENEFIT ORDINARY MEXICANS?

First of all, the economic return for the organisation is approximately MXN 900 million (£38 million) per annum. There are huge shortages of investment in the healthcare system, and the income coming from innovation royalties can be reinvested in the system, improving healthcare for all. 

Secondly, this policy creates an environment to foster and facilitate innovation within IMSS as professionals receive a share of the income generated. It’s well known that innovation breeds not only economic return, but social benefits as well. And with incentivising innovation, the 74 million Mexicans who are registered onto the social security system have access to new treatments, drugs and devices that add value to what is currently available. 

Dr Fatima Lopez is the winner of the Study UK Alumni Entrepreneurial Award, Mexico 2017.

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