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In conversation: The value of university spinouts

Dr Tim Hammond is Director of Commercialisation & Economic Development, Research and Innovation Services at Durham University. Here, he discusses the quality and value of university spinouts and the collaborative research commercialisation project recently launched by Durham and Newcastle Universities:

“A recent article in Money Week highlights the growth in value of spin-out companies that have arisen from research at UK universities, whose combined turnover is now £1.84bn per annum and rising. The article goes on to describe how academics and their parent universities are increasingly embracing the idea of setting up new firms to exploit their discoveries. It is also refreshing to see that amongst the spin-out stars of the future that the article highlights, that alongside the “Golden Triangle” Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial spin-outs, Durham University spin-out Kromek Limited is also tipped for success.

Recognising that still more can be done to create north east companies like Kromek, Newcastle and Durham Universities have recently launched their collaborative research commercialisation project.

With strong support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and part funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), this project sets out to attract experienced, dynamic business leaders to work with University spin-out ventures at an early stage, working alongside the founding academic and technology transfer offices to develop and lead a strong management team to take the business forward. The project targets the creation of 15 successful, high technology spin-out companies by October 1, 2019.

The ultimate objective of the project is the creation of a new innovation-based eco-system where talented business leaders will be attracted to high-tech, innovative commercial opportunities both created and developed in the north east of England. Through contracting highly skilled experts at the pre-commercial funding stage, this project will allow the universities to attract a suitable person to the venture at an early stage, thus giving university start-ups a much greater chance at success.”

For individuals interested in engaging with this project, please contact:

Newcastle University: David Huntley
Durham University: Michael Bath 

Dr Tim Hammond is Director Commercialisation & Economic Development, Research and Innovation Services at Durham University. He also sits on the North East LEP Innovation Board.

A chemist by background, Tim has broad industrial experience working within research and product development within large corporates including ICI and Astra Zeneca, and at technical director Level, within a local plc (Applied Optical Technologies).