Cambridge supports academics in commercialising their research

Cambridge University launched a new strategy to capitalize on the research done by its academics in order to become a “world leader” when it comes to creating science-based businesses.

Diarmuid OBrien, the head of the university’s efforts in commercialising the innovations that come from the academic world, stated the goal to double the number start-ups created by the institution.

This approach allows early-stage start-ups to quickly agree funding from Cambridge without giving up too much equity.

Technology Founders and Venture Capital Investors have complained about how much equity UK Universities demand, especially when compared to their peers in America. They also complained about time and complexity involved in negotiating deals.

This issue is cited as the reason that promising research and innovations are commercialised abroad instead of in Britain.

O’Brien stated that Cambridge has developed the “most academic friendly” approach for spin-out development to tackle this issue. He said that the university has an average equity stake in spin-outs of 10%, which is lower than the national average of 23 percent.

O’Brien stated that the university aims to double its creation of spin-out companies to 20 a year. This is to capitalize on a location which was already considered to be “the most scientifically intensive in the world”. The university’s research has been credited with breakthroughs in DNA technology, IVF, and jet engines.

He said that Cambridge can and should do more to catalyse world-leading businesses, based on its research excellence.

Universities are being criticized for subjecting entrepreneurs and academics to “predatory deal terms” and a “slow and secretive” process.

A review by an independent team published in November, and accepted by government, called for standardised terms and transparency of contracts to help UK university spin-outs grow more efficiently.