Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into managing IP and tech transfer

13 October 2016

  • The UK is a world-leader in innovation and university-business collaboration, and our comparative advantage derives from excellent research within our world-class universities. It is a myth that the UK is good at research but poor at innovation; the UK’s leading universities perform extremely well compared to top international competitors including in the US. Russell Group universities are very successful at commercialising their research and lead the way in producing innovative new spin-out companies and licensing their intellectual property (IP); they employ pioneering IP management methods, reinvest IP income to incentivise further innovation, and build long-term relationships with a full range of businesses including SMEs.
  • Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) and research offices have been integral to these successes, carrying out a range of critical functions which add value to and speed up commercialisation processes. In exchange for protecting IP and providing expert advice and support across a wide range of areas, it is right that universities seek a fair and equitable share of the financial benefits of success in spin-outs and through licensing to reinvest in research, teaching and future commercialisation activity.
  • Any suggestion universities and TTOs are focused on short-term returns from IP is misleading. Protecting IP and maximising the chances for a return on investment are not mutually exclusive aims. Universities must cover the cost of the research they conduct, and it is reasonable to require payments for IP generated from university research in order to support further activities. This is not a form of short-term return but a fair and proportionate return on investment for the university’s intellectual contribution.

Russell Group submission to TTO inquiry (Sept 2016).pdf

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