Call for evidence – Spinning out

15 Sep 2021

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Since launching in 2013, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Hub has supported the UK’s brightest engineering and technology entrepreneurs to help them realise their potential. We do so by providing both financial support and exceptional connections to the nation’s best engineering minds.

The Academy has engaged in policy work on IP and commercialisation since our inception and now aims to produce a guide for academic entrepreneurs who wish to commercialise their research through spinning out. We want this guide to be neutral and balanced, ensuring all engaged parties have the opportunity to provide input and articulate their unique perspectives on the process. We are interested in understanding motivations behind each stakeholder’s engagement in the spinout journey, hearing insightful lessons that have been learned, reading case studies, and seeking to comprehend bottlenecks and barriers. We are therefore currently gathering evidence through our call for evidence linked below:

Complete our call for evidence >>

The survey should take 10/15 minutes to complete and the deadline for submissions is the 31 October 2021.

If you are an entrepreneur, an academic who has sought or seeks to spin out, if you work in knowledge exchange or a technology transfer office (TTO) for a university or are an investor, we want to hear from you.

Call for evidence images 3If you have any guidance for academic entrepreneurs or have a unique perspective we should include in this guide, please fill out our call for evidence or get in touch with Daniel via

What will your data be used for?

Responses will be used to inform our entrepreneurs handbook and will be kept for future reference in relation to Academy work on university-generated intellectual property and its commercialisation. You will be given the chance to ‘opt-in’ to our team contacting you directly for further discussion.

Why your input is valuable?

The report will feature a series of case studies with lessons and learnings. To know what is best to include we need to hear stories from those who have been on this journey before.

A glossary will be included explaining key words and concepts and additional resources will close the report. If you’ve written or read any useful resources you feel we should reference and include, please get in touch.


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There are around 170 universities within the UK, each undertaking research, teaching and commercialisation activities, with about 150 university spinouts created annually in the UK. 

The Academy began assisting academic-led university spinouts through its Enterprise Fellowship programme in 2011, which was shortly followed by the creation of the Enterprise Hub. Through this programme we have seen the diversity of policies and procedures surrounding the commercialisation, and that there can be a disconnect between the perspectives of different stakeholders in their approach to spinning out. This presents a complex journey for the academic entrepreneur to navigate.

Using this call for evidence, we wish to better understand each perspective and, in this handbook, articulate them clearly and concisely alongside practical information on spinning out. Ultimately, we want to help make the UK’s spinout ecosystem the best it can be.

In January 2021, we published Spotlight on Spinouts, a report created in collaboration with Beauhurst Ltd, summarising the rate of spinouts in the UK. The inaugural report was broadly well received and will become an annual publication, tracking the impact of university spinouts over time, and gradually expanding its remit to cover related topics such as the various spinout policies deployed. 

The Entrepreneurs Handbook: what is it and who’s it for?

This publication will be a guide for academic entrepreneurs on how to work with their TTOs to spin out a company. This is a crucial relationship and one that we have seen can struggle, so we wish to provide clarity for all parties on this process. The guide will include an introduction to all major categories of stakeholders and their respective motivations behind their involvement in the UK’s spinout ecosystem.

The spinout process will be mapped and split into stages. Each stage will be presented and discussed, with entrepreneur case studies and stakeholder perspectives featured throughout to bring points of learning to life. Suitable caveats will feature throughout, noting that processes can and do vary between institutions. Each section will end with a checklist of goals/achievements that must be completed in this stage before moving forward. 

The guide will not cover the ‘how’ to complete each step as there are plenty of resources available already, but instead will cover: 

  • who is interested in each step
  • what are they interested in 
  • why they are interested in it 
  • how this impacts the entrepreneur
  • when to start each process in the journey
  • what other processes each impacts upon.

The aim is to give the academic entrepreneur a better understanding of the often-competing viewpoints, so that they may better navigate the process and bring the various viewpoints into alignment.

Complete our call for evidence >>

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