UCLB is part of UCL, one of the world’s leading universities. We make sure the exceptional ideas and innovations generated by researchers at UCL and its partner NHS Trusts have real world impact, creating benefits for society and bringing revenue back to the university.
UCLB’s track record of success includes over £1.5 billion raised in investment for UCL spinouts, bringing pioneering technologies from the laboratory to market.
Every day, we’re enabling academic entrepreneurs to tackle global challenges, from energy and engineering to healthcare and the environment.
We’re proud to be part of the Office of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) – RIGE.
Video credit: Matt Aucott - UCL Educational Media
Technology transfer: from idea to impact
Our highly experienced, expert business and project managers work with you every step of the way. We take new technologies and discoveries right from the earliest stage through to market, helping to create the maximum impact and bring revenue back to UCL.
I’ve got an idea – what do I do now?
If you have an idea or discovery that you think is new, exciting and meets a commercial or social need you should contact your business manager, who can guide you through the technology transfer process. If your technology is patentable you’ll need to contact UCLB before talking or writing about it publicly. We’ll discuss the idea with you to work out its development potential, and if the opportunity looks promising, we’ll make sure your intellectual property (IP) is protected and work out your best route to market.
How can I protect my idea?
Patents are the most common way of protecting UCL researchers’ IP. A patent allows disclosure of an invention in return for the right to prevent others from using the invention without permission. Patenting is an expensive and lengthy process. It typically takes five years and costs tens of thousands of pounds to get a patent granted. If your invention meets the criteria to be patentable, we’ll help you file a patent application and take it through the process of searches, examination reports and responses for each territory through to getting your patent granted.
How do I develop my idea while doing my day job?
The project management team at UCLB moves projects along their commercial pathway, allowing you to concentrate on your research rather than its administration. Our project managers provide flexible support, helping to connect you with academic and industrial networks, identify critical development pathways and manage risk.
Can I get funding to develop my idea?
UCLB can help you access funding from internal and external sources to commercialise your promising technology. We manage and make available to academics a number of funds to help you develop your ideas.
Will I get a good deal?
At UCLB we understand that good negotiation leads to better outcomes, increasing the impact of your research. Our business managers identify potential commercial partners, and work openly and collaboratively to negotiate deals that bring the greatest benefit to all parties.
What are the options for taking my technology to market?
The UCLB team will assess whether your technology is best suited to licensing or forming a spinout company.
In general, if the IP position is narrow and there is only a single product, licensing to an existing company will be most appropriate, and most likely to generate revenues for the inventor. We’ll identify companies that have the capability and infrastructure to develop and market your technology.
If the IP position is broad and there are several products or the opportunity to generate a pipeline of new IP, then it may be best to form a new company. A spinout is also likely to be the best option if your idea involves non-patentable IP such as software, know-how or algorithmic methods. UCLB will work with you to create a business plan and structure for a sustainable spinoff enterprise.
Engaging with industry
There are many ways to work with industry, from exchanging materials (material transfer) to scientific or clinical partnerships, and financial support of basic research. The right industrial relationship can offer valuable funding, expertise and an invested translational partner to help develop any discoveries. Collaborations between academics and business can also present specific challenges, so it’s worth bringing UCLB’s experts into discussions at an early stage.