09 June 2017

UK General Election 2017

Universities and Commercial Enterprises working closer together.

Comment from partner Chris Hamer at Mathys & Squire in relation to the general election outcome.

“The general election results have come as a shock to the UK. It is clear that this result will cause continued uncertainty for the country, especially with regards to Brexit, economic and domestic social issues.

The Conservative government had promised increased funding for research and development and university spin outs, as well as for a general increase in the number of scientists in the UK.  Theresa May herself had put an emphasis on ‘science and innovation’.  We urge the newly formed Conservative government, now with support from the DUP, to continue with this promise and to look at how best universities should use some of this funding and resource to engage with commercial enterprises and businesses. 

The potential increase in funding presents exciting opportunities but also, we believe, commercial challenges.  Whilst research and fundamental knowledge are a priority for universities receiving funding, there is a need for academics to increase their commercial focus, i.e. how might their innovation be applied in the real world and where does it fit commercially?  Whilst university technology transfer offices have made a start, we hope to see a greater focus on entrepreneurs and businesses (themselves benefiting from tax incentives) working with academics on how best to focus and commercialise their innovations and maximise the potential for products and services, forming the basis of many spin outs.

Whilst extra funding and resource in these areas are certainly needed, there is a need to also focus energy on developing a more balanced working relationship between the two.”