Insight and inspiration
Barbara Diehl is Executive Director at the UCD Innovation Academy.
Barbara’s extensive experience in entrepreneurship and innovation is based on over 10 years of working in various knowledge transfer settings, seven of which alone in the field of entrepreneurship and venture creation at the University of Oxford’s Entrepreneurship Centre (2008-2015). Prior to joining Oxford she worked for the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, a science & innovation policy related think-tank in Berlin. From 2004-2006 she managed ESOF2006 in Munich, Europe’s biggest “Science in Society” Forum, which attracted over 50,000 attendees to its outreach programme.
Whilst working at Oxford University, Barbara undertook a start-up sabbatical (2013/14) with Oxtex Ltd, a medical spin-out company from the University of Oxford and took the opportunity for several entrepreneurship ecosystem study trips to Ghana, South Africa and India engaging with investors, entrepreneurs and organisations promoting venture creation in these fast moving developing economies. In 2015 Barbara was invited to be a mentor on the "Leaders in Innovation" Programme by the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, an appointment she still holds.
Barbara has worked at all three cornerstones of the innovation triangle, policy, academia and business, through which she has accumulated expertise in all aspects related to getting early-stage, innovative technologies through to market. Within the higher education setting her particular interests revolve around entrepreneurial learning as well as international trends in entrepreneurship, innovation and early-stage venture investment. In her professional capacity, Barbara regularly helps student teams refine their business plans and investment pitches. She is very experienced in evaluating early-stage venture creation ideas and has served on the investment committees of various seed funds.
A native German with Spanish roots, Barbara was educated at the universities of Heidelberg and Johns Hopkins, where she was a Fulbright scholar and holds a Masters degree in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford. No stranger to vocational training she also completed a two-year apprenticeship in scientific photography prior to attending university.