Meet the Team


Tony Lesowiec. Managing Director at Keystone Innovation. Seasoned professional with over 25 years’ experience innovation, business development and grant acquisition for research and development. Tony and his team have helped secure over £250m over this time. Tony is also a seasoned business Coach and Mentor working with key clients supported by the European Commission and Business Wales.  The business acumen is backed-up with strong and diverse technical skill set. Tony has an honours degree in Applied Chemistry and has widened his knowledge working in the following sectors: engineering, smart manufacturing, renewable energy, environmental technologies, healthcare devices, advanced materials, nanotechnologies, electronics, telecoms, sensors, automation, transport, robotics, food and drink, and packaging. Tony’s previous roles include Practice Leader (with full P&L responsibilities) at Pera Technology, funding manager at the University of Sheffield, and technical roles at Fuchs Lubricants (UK) Plc and 3M Healthcare Ltd.


Tony Lesowiec - Keystone Innovation

Dr Sandra van Meurs. Sandra has over 20 years’ experience in scientific research, customer support and sales and in scientific facility management. Sandra holds a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) and University of Warwick respectively and has subsequently been involved in nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biosciences, materials, electronics and analytical sciences.  Sandra’s previous roles include client-facing commercial roles at Bruker UK Ltd and The University of Sheffield and research roles at a number of biotechs, including at Chroma Therapeutics, Celltech and Oxford GlycoSciences.She has a passion for language, is a borderline pedant for correct grammar and spelling and has an instinctive eye for detail and inconsistency. It is this combination of commercial experience and communication skills which uniquely qualifies her for start-to-finish bid preparation, gently guiding clients through the writing process by asking incisive questions and offering guidance in presenting the bid in the most effective way.



George Rees. George brings 40 years’ experience in technology innovation: securing grant funding and leading R&D in early-stage tech start-ups and corporate labs.  His successes span a wide range of technology sectors including: materials, telecommunications and IT, energy, biosciences, and manufacturing.  He has personally secured over £50M grant funding for innovation clients in both the private sector and academia.  Funding awards have included those from Innovate UK, Research Councils, European Funding (both Research & Innovation and Regional Economic Development), and direct government funding.  His business development guidance draws upon his own experience of leading technology-based start-up companies and overseeing R&D teams. He has led the research, overseas-trials and marketing of products ranging from radically innovative heat-pumps to novel wireless telecom networks.  As head of business development for the Faculty of Engineering in University of Sheffield he led the BDM team through the Faculty’s growth to become no.1 in UK funding awards.


Carly Gottorff.  Carly is data scientist with a history of working in the research industry, start-ups, and non-profits. Skilled in Python, R, QGIS, SAS, cloud computing, Spark, Hadoop, Hive, SQL, and machine learning. Master’s of Science in Applied Social Data Science from the London School of Economics. Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Statistical Political Science, Statistics, and Economics from SUNY University at Buffalo. Carly is also a seasoned bid writer with extensive experience in Innovate UK grants.

Dr Mark Pullinger. Mark has worked in research management since 2001.  He read chemistry at the University of Surrey, and was awarded his Ph.D. from the same institution, specialising in high-temperature polymer synthesis in 2002.  He spent thirteen years working for various consultancy companies in the preparation and management of research projects in a variety of technical fields, primarily to the European Commission’s framework programmes, but also Innovate UK and other local business support programmes.  He has worked in a variety of research management roles at the Universities of Sheffield, Keele and Birmingham and has been a member of the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions chemistry evaluation panel since 2017.