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Academic Spin-offs as a way to take advantage of University knowledge

Academic Spin-offs as a way to take advantage of University knowledge
Thursday, 11 May 2017

It is difficult to turn university research and knowledge into companies which contribute greatly to the economic value of a country. In the US, University Spin-offs created around $33.5 billion in economic value from 1980 to 1999 [1], and US continues to grow its Spin-off sector.

However, in other European countries, the growth seen in the US is not replicated, due to different factors including the environment provided for the transfer of scientific research into a product designed for the market. Although we can see that there has been growth in the sector since the early 1980s, many countries do not manage to start more than a few Academic Spin-offs per year [2].

In the UK, we can see that around 20 years ago, universities attempted to break into this field, and while they are having more success than before, growing to about £4 billion in economic value, they are still facing difficulties [1]. For example, Imperial Innovations, a fund set up by the Imperial College in London is trying to tackle two of the biggest obstacles: management expertise and long-term capital.

It is clear that investing in Academic Spin-offs is not risk free; however, there is a lot of potential in there companies and the knowledge that they can share.

[1] https://www.ft.com/content/a0eaa08e-002a-11e7-8d8e-a5e3738f9ae4
[2] http://www.oecd.org/sti/sci-tech/introductionthenewspinonspin-offs.htm