London UK The turnover by companies spun off from UK education establishments increased from £212m to £289m during 2001-02 while the number of people employed by spin-offs increased from 10,500 to 12,000.
The third annual Higher Education Business Interaction (HEBI) survey also shows that the amount of income that Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) receive from intellectual property has increased by 83%, up from £18m to £33m, and the number of new patents filed by HEIs rose by 8%, up from 896 to 967.
Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister, said, “We have made large investments in knowledge transfer over the last few years and it is good to see it bearing fruit. The trend from the three surveys shows a dramatic improvement.”
The survey found that 213 new spin-off firms were set up in 2001/2002 following on from 248 in 2000-01 and 203 in 1999/2000, compared to 70 a year on average in the previous five years. Turnover generated by spin-off companies increased from £212m in 2000-01 to £289m in 2001-02. In 1999-2000 the total was £133m.
The HEBI shows that UK universities' spin-off performance is comparable with US universities when adjusted for their size. UK universities identified one spin-off firm for every £15 million of research expenditure, compared with one for every £44million in the US while 54% of UK HEIs offered incubation or 'start-up' facilities.
The £120m allocated to more than 200 universities, colleges and hospitals across the UK for the period for 2001- 04 to enable them to further exploit their research and development potential was followed up with an additional £171m allocated under Spending Review 2002 for supporting knowledge transfer in HEIs for 2004-06. HEIs are currently submitting their bids for this funding this month, and grants will be made later this year.
HEI income in the UK from contract research for business increased from £266m in 2000-01 to £328m in 2001-02 while their income in the UK from consultancy has increased from £103m in 2000-01 to £122m in 2001-02.
A 'spin-off' is an enterprise in which an HEI or HEI employee(s) possesses equity stakes and/or has been created by the HEI or been set up by HEI employees to enable the commercial exploitation of knowledge arising from academic research.