Technology Transfer

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The UK already is a world leader in scientific advancement, boasting some of the world’s premier research facilities, universities, and scientists. The UK also recognizes that innovation is key to a strong economy and global competitiveness. Since 1997, academic research and product development has increased, the number of venture capital organizations has exploded, intellectual property licenses and new patents filed have increased dramatically, and technology transfer centers of excellence have been established. In an effort to do more, the UK reviewed its innovation environment in 2003 through two key documents, the Lambert Review and the Innovation Report. The reports led to the Science and Innovation Investment Strategy, which outlines the UK’s path over the next ten years to a more modern and thriving environment for scientific and technological innovation.

Tech Transfer Organizations and Resources

To achieve its goals of scientific excellence, the UK Government has implemented new programs and leveraged established ones to facilitate the leap from discovery to innovation. Universities possess strong tech transfer offices that enable businesses to access the skills and resources of the UK knowledge base for strategic advantage, with high quality graduates working in companies on knowledge transfer projects. This network between industry and academia supports business innovation and increased competitiveness for all involved.

  • Technology Transfer in the UK Fact Sheet (pdf)
    Outlines programs, university tech transfer offices, and funding initiatives that support academic innovation.

+ Other Technology Transfer websites

Tech Transfer Success Stories

With the increased investment in science, the UK’s technology transfer offices have an increased capacity to commercialize their research and technological innovation has been growing at a rapid rate. The following are some recent examples of successes in tech transfer in terms of licensing, partnerships, and spin-off companies:

  • “New spin-out offers fresh hope to smokers”
  • “UK Technology transfer thriving”
  • “New Oxford spin-out offers breath tests to diagnose disease”
  • “Mitsui and Isis Innovation establish a new collaboration based on technologies from the University of Oxford”

+ Other Technology Transfer websites

Incubators and Research Parks

Incubators and research parks surround many of the UK’s research centers to help facilitate the exchange of knowledge from university to business, as well as to provide a nurturing environment for start-up companies. Through the research parks, clusters of high-technology, knowledge-based companies have easy access to university expertise and cutting-edge facilities that allow business, industry, and community sectors to engage more meaningfully and productively with the universities. The incubators facilitate R&D from the laboratory to the marketplace by providing practical assistance in accessing financial resources (seed and venture capital) and expertise in the preparation of commercially viable business plans. With productivity as a key indicator for innovative success, the environmental shift supported by the UK’s incubators and research parks already has realized results, including a dramatic increase in spin-off companies over the last several years and a rapid growth in turnover.+ Other Technology Transfer websites

Learn more…

The Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration (pdf)
analyzes the way in which companies are undertaking research and makes a series of recommendations for improving business-university collaboration.

The Innovation Report
looks at the contribution that innovation can make to driving up UK productivity and to achieving the vision of the UK as a key knowledge hub in the global economy.