Treasury launches university spinout review

university spinout Image credit: David Ionut via Shutterstock

The government has launched a review to explore how the UK can better utilise the work of university spinouts to boost economic growth.

University spinouts are companies that are formed initially within a university facility, often drawing upon academic research and resources available at higher education institutions.

The spinout process has led to the foundation of a number of significant UK tech startups, including biotech firm Oxford Nanopore, which spun out from the University of Oxford, and virtual simulation company Improbable, which spun out from the University of Cambridge.

However, the Treasury believes not enough is being done to make use of spinouts and is therefore supporting an independent review to identify how to promote innovation and grow businesses through spinouts.

The review will be led by Professor Irene Tracey and Dr Andrew Williamson.

“Our universities are among the world’s best and are crucial driving forces for innovation and economic growth,” said Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

“We want the UK to be the world’s next Silicon Valley and to get there the government must help spinouts to thrive. The expertise of Professor Tracey and Dr Williamson will be invaluable in ensuring we have the right support in place.”

The committee will report back to the chancellor in the summer.

“UK universities are long-established global leaders in research and it’s no accident that four of the world’s top ten universities call Britain home,” said Tech Secretary Michelle Donelan.

“However, our world-leading research apparatus hasn’t always translated into the raft of game-changing business giants you would expect. We can and will do more to support university spinouts to become global business titans that generate highly skilled jobs and rapid economic growth for the UK.”