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Technology Transfer in the UK The University of Oxford Model. Steve Cleverley PhD MBA Managing Consultant Isis Enterprise, Isis Innovation Ltd. Overview. Introduction to Isis Innovation & technology transfer at the University of Oxford Technology Commercialization

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technology transfer in the uk the university of oxford model

Technology Transfer in the UKThe University of Oxford Model

Steve Cleverley PhD MBA

Managing Consultant

Isis Enterprise, Isis Innovation Ltd

  • Introduction to Isis Innovation & technology transfer at the University of Oxford
  • Technology Commercialization
  • Supporting Technology Transfer outside of Oxford
  • Conclusions
isis innovation ltd
Isis Innovation Ltd

A profitable company 100% owned by the University of Oxford

Oxford Technology TransferIP, Patents, Licences, Spin-outs,

Material Sales, Outcome Questionnaires, Seed Funds, Isis Angels Network

Oxford ExpertiseConsulting, Services

Isis Consulting Business Technology Transfer and Innovation Management

oxford university isis innovation ltd
Oxford University & Isis Innovation Ltd

Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world (founded c.1188), and a leader in learning, teaching and research

Today - Most Powerful UK Research University

Research Fortnight, December 2008 Research Assessment Exercise

Highest University Research Spend in UK

£486 million (2009/2010)

Isis Innovation Ltd is a company 100% owned by the University of Oxford, established in 1987

Isis helps researchers who wish to commercialise the results of their research

A world-class Technology Innovation business

Isis 9th highest British filer of PCT patent applicant (WIPO Data, 2010)

Highest European University PCT applicant (WIPO Data, 2010)

Christ Church, Oxford

Ewert House, Oxford

resources to support commercialisation
Resources to Support Commercialisation



Four Academic Divisions

Intellectual Property Advisory Group

Maths, Physical & Life Sciences Division

Social Sciences Division

Medical Sciences Division

Humanities Division


Oxford Entrepreneurs Student Society

Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Begbroke Science Park

Research Services

Isis Innovation Limited

isis return on investment to the university
Isis Return on Investment to the University
  • University Investment in Isis for Protecting Oxford IP
  • Financial Returns
    • Distributions back to University
    • Research Funding from spin-outs to University
    • Spin-outs Cash
    • Spin-outs Value
    • Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund
    • New Patents
  • Other, non-financial, benefits to the University
    • Transferring technologies to improve lives
    • Promoting good news stories from University
    • Contributing to the ‘Impact’ of the University
    • University staff recruitment & retention
    • Managing Oxford Innovation Society
oxford research funding 2009 2010 486million
Oxford Research Funding 2009-2010 £486million
  • Highest University Research Spend in UK
  • 4,700 researchers and 8,700 postgraduate students
  • R & D Spend by UK Companies, Oxford would be ranked 9th 2009 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard
  • Most Powerful UK Research University - 2008 Research Assessment Exercise Research Fortnight

UK Govt/NHS £38m – 10%

UK Charity £113m – 31%

EU Govt £24m – 7%

Total £367m+ HEFCE £119m

UK & Overseas Industry £39m – 11%

Research Councils £113m – 31%

Other UK & Overseas Sources £40m – 11%

isis innovation staff
Isis Innovation Staff

Oxford University Consulting (6)

Head of Group

Andrew Goff

Project Managers

Susan Clark

Gurinder Punn

Dr Josef Walker


Kerry Antcliffe

Katie Bromfield

Managing Director

Tom Hockaday

Administration (13)

Business Support


Simon Gray

Barney Cullum

Renate Krelle

Dr Fiona Story

Dr Lianne Leith


Gemma Allnutt


Paresh Jasani

Central Administration

Office Manager

Jenny Bailey

Systems Administrator

Nelson Sa


Alex Allan

Viv Parry


Jane Tarry


Isabel Lavis

Technology Transfer

Group (34)

Head of Group

Linda Naylor

Technology Transfer


Evert Geurtsen

Roy Azoulay

Dr Manjari Chandran-Ramesh

Chim Chu

Dr David Churchman

Dr Jamie Ferguson

Dr Andy Robertson

Brendan Spillane

Dr Paul Ashley

Dr Angela CalvertDr Matthew Carpenter

Dr Sarah Deakin

Andy Self

Dr Weng Sie Wong

Seed Investment Manager

Andrea Alunni

Operations Manager

Dr Mairi Gibbs


Jan Newell

Technology Transfer


Dr Susan Gale

Dr Ruth Barrett

Dr Nikolaos Chalkias

Dr Alex Marshall

Dr Brijesh Roy

Dr Natasha Tian

Dr Rakesh Roshan

Dr Jon Carr

Dr Mark Gostock

Dr Martin Procter

Dr Bharti Ranavaya Dr Christine WhyteDr Carolyn Porter

Patent & Licence Admin Manager

Steven Bayliss

Post-Deal Admin

Kate Spanchak

Patent Administrator

Zuzana Weberova

Isis Enterprise (20)

Head of Group

Dr David Baghurst (Asia)

Steve Lee (UK)


Ya-hsin Shen (HK)

Terry Pollard

Kenji Aiba (Japan)

Dr Chris MoodyRobert Swerdlow

Dr Costas ChryssouDr Roger Welch

Dr Giles KimminauGaurav MisraDr Wenming Ji

Dr Steve CleverleyDr Sarah Macnaughton

Elena AndonovaDr Viraj Perera

Dr Stuart Wilkinson

Eva Baltar (Spain)


Shelagh Harrison

Kristina Gren

Staff: 74 PhD’s: 37 MBA’s: 18

acting as multi dimensional intermediaries
Acting as Multi-dimensional Intermediaries

Investor axis

£ -> £££

3D – Spin-out

Academic axis

£ -> Research

2D – Licence, Consulting

Commercial axis

Research -> £

intellectual property policy from october 2000
Intellectual Property Policy (from October 2000)
  • University claims ownership of all employees’ and students’ IP rights resulting from University research activities
  • The University assists those researchers who wish to commercialise their research
    • by patenting, licences, spinout companies & consultancy
  • Researchers share the benefits
    • Royalty shares from licences
    • Equity in spinout companies
    • Income from personal consultancy
transfer of intellectual property
Transfer of Intellectual Property

Assignment of intellectual property rights

Outside the University

Inside the University


Route to market



Research Services

Includes: IP Rights

Management Team

70 Staff

85% Graduates

33% Post grad degrees

Isis Innovation

70 staff

75% Graduates

50% Science doctorates





the technology transfer process
The Technology Transfer Process


Post Deal








The Team











Patent strategy


Proof of concept






  • Supports technology transfer from initial invention disclosure through to commercialization and post-deal support
  • Understanding of both the technology and the commercial market is crucial to success
bridging the funding gap
Bridging the Funding Gap

Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund

Launched with £4m in 1999

University provided £1m; HM Treasury, Wellcome, Gatsby £3m

£5.7m invested in 102 projects – development, seed equity

Resulting in Equity stakes in 31 spin-outs, 4 completed licensing deals & 33 active technology projects. These 31 spin-outs have attracted £80m seed/venture investment

Isis Angels Network

Business Angels, Seed/Venture Capital

100 members

Events, No Charges

Oxford Invention Fund

Donations to the University of Oxford as part of Oxford Thinking, the University’s overall fund raising Campaign

Invest in development of new technologies and innovation from Oxford

from ip to marketing strategy
From IP to Marketing Strategy
  • Market Analysis to identify opportunities for technology
  • Field of use
  • Exclusivity
  • Strength and breadth of patent
  • Geographic limitations
    • One market or multiple markets?
    • Single technology or bundle of technologies?

What is the best route to market?


(to an established company)

Spin out(form a new company)

technology licensing
Technology Licensing
  • Licensing out of University of Oxford Intellectual Property Rights
  • Isis currently manages 1,320 Patents & Patent Applications; and 330 active licensing deals
  • Technologies marketed to Oxford Innovation Society Members and then other companies
  • License partners selected on
    • Resources and intent to develop technology to market
    • In healthcare, awareness of access of final products to developing countries
  • Royalties
    • Patent budget £2.5m per annum & royalties
    • Isis pays patent costs & recovers these from royalties

Total net Researchers University Department Isis revenue personally General Fund Funds Innovation

to £72k 60% 10%* 0% 30%

to £720k 31.5% 21% 17.5% 30%

over £720k 15.75% 28% 26.25% 30%

* pays National Insurance employment tax

oxford spin outs post 2000
Oxford Spin-outs(post 2000)

Total external investment to date in 62 spin-outs since 2000: £326m

£41m 1st round Seed/Business Angels – average amount invested £850k; 1/3rd > £1m invested.

£285m follow-on Venture/Institution Capital * stock exchange listing

oxford university consulting
Oxford University Consulting

Helping academics identify and manage consulting opportunities.

Supporting Departments in arranging external services (including consultancy) work.

Providing external organizations with access to University expertise & resources.

begbroke science park
Begbroke Science Park
  • Spin-outs on site:
  • Prolysis/Biota Europe
  • Oxford Gene Technology
  • Oxonica
  • Oxford Advanced Surfaces
  • Oxford Biodynamics
  • Particle Therapeutics

University Departments of Engineering Science & Materials

Centre for Innovation & Enterprise

  • Owned & operated by Oxford University, 5 miles north from the city centre
  • University research labs;
  • University Supercomputer operated by e-research centre
  • Business incubator & premises for new companies
  • Central meeting room and café
oxford entrepreneurship
Oxford & Entrepreneurship
  • Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
    • Within the Saïd Business School
    • Development of the Oxford Science Enterprise Centre, est. 2000
    • Brings together innovators from across the world, as well as the high-tech companies based around Oxford
    • Building a Business,
    • The SBS Venture Fund
  • Oxford Entrepreneurs – Student Society
    • ‘Idea Idol’ competition
    • Ideas to Market
    • Changemaker speaker series
    • Enterprising Women speaker series
    • Emerging Markets speaker series
culture change making connections
Culture Change & Making Connections

University technology transfer resource

University entrepreneur culture

Business & professional environment

  • Universities and Businesses are very different; a university is not meant to be like a company, nor a company designed to be like a university; remembering this helps when trying to bring them together
  • The ideas are in the University; if University provides strong TT resource, the cultures can be connected and ideas transferred
  • If the University doesn’t lead, the University may not receive its share of the benefits
  • Technology is a cost; you don’t make money out of technology; you make money out of a business that successfully commercialises technology
layers in the innovation ecosystem
Layers in the Innovation Ecosystem

Innovative companies, investors, entrepreneurs,

University People – Researchers, TTO, Administrators

Professional advisers – patent attorneys, lawyers, accountants, banks, commercial property managers, pr, head-hunters, consultants, students, journalists

Other universities

isis enterprise
Isis Enterprise

We link technology providers with technology seekers

Often with support from governments, research funders etc.

Maturity ideas products companies

TRL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

technology transfer partnerships
Technology Transfer Partnerships

...building on client’s existing capabilities

…maximising the potential of commercialisation pipelines

Aston University

Liverpool University

Oxford Brookes University

Keele University


Leadership or Supportive approaches

technology transfer training
Technology Transfer Training
  • We deliver practical, bespoke training in all aspects of technology transfer and innovation management
  • Our technology transfer process:


Post Deal








The Team











Patent strategy


Proof of concept








South Africa




international programmes
International Programmes
  • Bulgaria
    • Participating in a national infrastructure programme to help Bulgarian scientists and engineers commercialise their research
    • In conjunction with the Eurocopter Offset Programme
  • Russia
    • Leading a regional international commercialisation programme in the Tomsk region of Siberia
    • Includes an executive education programme (in Oxford and Tomsk)
    • Supported by the regional government and Rusnano
  • Croatia
    • Supporting an EU programme to review the technology transfer capabilities of several of Croatia’s leading universities

Case Study

conclusions how isis works
ConclusionsHow Isis Works


Technology Transfer is a good thing

Part of University purpose; may make money for University and researchers

It does not happen on its own

You need to invest resources in People, Patent budget, Proof-of-Concept

You need a policy framework

Who owns the inventions; who shares the rewards

It takes a long time

So start and do not stop.


  • Access to technologies, resources and expertise
  • Help understand universities
  • Help your business innovate


  • Source of investment opportunities
  • Home for entrepreneurs


  • Stimulates innovation and enterprise
  • Improves society
www isis innovation com

Steve Cleverley PhD MBA

Managing Consultant

Isis Enterprise

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 280849

Nov 11