Scottish Universities are more active than their UK counterparts in commercialising their Intellectual Property (IP), according to a report from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC).
The research, which covers the academic year 2000-01, showed that 104 new patents were filed from Scottish higher education institutions (HEIs), accounting for 11 percent of all UK HEI patents and 30 were granted. Scottish HEIs were also granted 107 IP licenses, which make up 15 percent of all IP licenses from UK institutions.
Roger McClure, chief executive of the SHEFC, said: "As the report shows our HEIs are doing a good job in patenting and licensing their research, as well as supporting spin-off companies. The commercial realisation of HEI research plays a very important part in contributing to Scotland's prosperity and SHEFC are fully supportive of the transfer of expert knowledge to industry and commerce."
According to the research, 15 ou t of the 17 Scottish institutions surveyed stated that they have an in-house capability to seek licensing opportunities for their IP and total revenues for IP commercialisation for 2000/01 were £4.6m, 25 percent of the UK total.
According to the research, Scottish institutions place a higher requirement on their staff to report the creation of IP with 88 percent requiring the disclosure of inventions compared with 73 percent for the UK as a whole. The requirement to disclose software or databases in Scotland is 71 percent compared with 68 percent in the UK.
The total number of spin-off companies from Scottish universities was 62 with 31 of which being partly owned by its university. Six companies were started without formal HEI ownership, five by HEI staff and 20 were started by graduates. In total, spin-offs set up in the 2000/01 academic year employ 921 people in Scotland, 8 percent of UK employment in such companies.
The Scots have also proved more efficient in providing support for their star t-ups. Of the 17 universities surveyed, 65 percent have on-campus incubators compared to 44 percent of UK institutions. Science park accommodation was offered by 59 percent compared with 34 percent in the UK as a whole. All but three of the Scottish HEIs provided entrepreneurship training and 12 universities offered venture capital either through the university or a partner.
Download full report: Higher education-business interaction survey