University and industry collaboration

How to accelerate research commercialisation and drive societal impact

Why it matters 

Fostering science commercialisation and university-industry collaboration is a challenging endeavour. It involves developing programmes that effectively harness knowledge, intellectual property, and resources, while bridging the gap between diverse incentives, cultures, and abilities. 

Experimentation can help guide effective policy design, improve the impact of these programmes and determine the most effective approaches. Despite this, there have been very few policy experiments targeting this challenge, and it is still very unusual for organisations working in this space to embrace experimentation. With this programme, IGL aims to change this.

Our work and impact 

This new IGL programme aims to develop a portfolio of experimental and data projects that build the evidence base and provide actionable insights on how best to accelerate science commercialisation and business-university collaboration.

To do so, we aim to collaborate with technology transfer offices, innovation agencies and other intermediaries in the university-business collaboration space who are actively developing or implementing programmes to promote intellectual property exploitation at research institutions, increase business access to academic research, or improve knowledge exchange and collaboration between academia and society. 

As a first step, we are working with the ATTRACT consortium, which brings together some of the largest scientific institutions in Europe (such as CERN or EMBL). With support from the European Commission we are developing a handbook on experimentation in science commercialisation and business-university collaboration. The handbook provides a compilation of experimental ideas that could be tried in different areas of the science commercialisation ecosystem to tackle the common barriers that hinder the journey from discovery to invention to innovation. Specifically, we consider experimental ideas addressing motivation, capabilities, resources, and the matching process, both on the researcher and the business side.

We have also launched an Impact Accelerator Programme to help institutions leverage effective design, evidence building, and experimentation with the objective of establishing a number of pilots. And we also worked with Innovate UK on an experimental evaluation of their innovation vouchers programme, a widely used policy instrument.

We are looking forward to collaborating with organisations and researchers interested in setting up policy experiments addressing this challenge.

Key resources