A commercialisation (or technology transfer) office was first created at the University of Edinburgh in 1969. Since that time, the University has successfully commercialised the world-class intellectual property (IP) it generates, with all the intellectual, social and economic benefits that flow from that.
The University’s commercialisation arm, Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), is well established as the leading technology transfer office in Scotland and one of the most successful in the UK.
Supporting business growth
ERI has developed an impressive number of links with business and industry each year, with just under 2,500 industry partnerships established in the past five years, to transfer the University’s knowledge and expertise to business through sponsored research (including studentships and knowledge transfer partnerships), licensing and consultancy.
ERI has negotiated 836 licence agreements in the past five years. With a growing portfolio of over 160 active commercial licence agreements currently under management, this has generated £14 million in royalty income.
[The BiGGAR economic impact report calculated that for every £1 million in royalty income received by the University, the licensee companies will be making at least £12 million in increased turnover as a result.]
ERI has supported the formation of 184 new spin-out and start-up companies in the past five years to July 2015. In 2015, the total number of new spin-out and start-up businesses created at the University since 1967 reached a magnificent 417, including VLSI Vision, Wolfson Microelectronics, MTEM, Artemis Intelligent Power, pureLiFi and FanDuel!
An economic impact report by BiGGAR Economics in May 2012 concluded that ERI’s commercialisation activities generated over £164 million GVA per annum for the UK economy (globally over £200 million), and supported almost 3,000 jobs in the UK (over 3,500 worldwide).
The BiGGAR report also highlighted that, of the 262 new companies created by ERI since 1969, 81% are still trading in some capacity and that the majority of these (89%) were still based in Scotland, including Wolfson Microelectronics PLC.
In recent years, ERI’s excellence in research commercialisation and entrepreneurship have gained increasing recognition with numerous awards, such as:
September - Edinburgh Research and Innovation ranked 17th equal in the world for its technology transfer activities, according to the Global University Venturing TTO Rankings 2014. Find out more »
September - The University of Edinburgh is ranked 2nd in the UK in terms of volume of spin-out company formation, according to the PraxisUnico Spinouts UK Survey Annual Report 2013. With five universities in the top 10, Scotland was the best performing region. Find out more »
March - Edinburgh Research and Innovation wins BBSRC's inaugural Activating Impact Competition 2013 against tough competition from the UK’s leading universities, to fund a new knowledge exchange initiative aimed at sparking impact of commercial bioscience research at the University of Edinburgh. Find out more »
July - eoSurgical, the start-up company founded by medical students Paul Brennan and Roland Partridge, beat off stiff competition from across the UK to win the postgraduate award in the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2012. Find out more »
June - Dr Sonja Vujovic, ERI's Business Development Manager for the Roslin Institute, was recognised as the 'KT (Knowledge Transfer) Achiever of the Year' at the PraxisUnico Impact Awards – one of the most prestigious awards covering areas around research commercialisation, showcasing the very best examples of knowledge transfer. Find out more »
March - Brian Baillie, Student Company Formation Executive at LAUNCH.ed, was recognised by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) as 'SIE Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year' for his "outstanding contribution to student enterprise". Find out more »
March - LAUNCH.ed student entrepreneurs Paul Brennan and Roland Partridge (who formed eoSurgical Ltd) won the 2012 SIE New Ventures competition for ‘Outstanding Business Innovation’ by developing medical devices used to rehearse keyhole surgery and other surgical techniques. This continues a recent tradition of success at the SIE Awards, with Edinburgh students winning top honours in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Find out more »
November - ERI’s LAUNCH.ed programme for student entrepreneurs was recognised as the leading higher education innovation programme of the year at the Education Investor Awards 2011. Find out more »
April - The University's UK-leading performance in the formation of 16 spin-out companies in the three year period to 2010 was recognised in the first Spinouts UK 2011 Annual Report, which was published by Young Company Finance.