Arc Universities

Cambridge University has launched a new approach to capitalising on the research of its academics as it seeks to become the “world leader in creating science-backed businesses.”

Diarmuid O’Brien, who heads the university’s efforts to commercialise the innovation that emerges from academia, said it aims to double the number of start-ups it creates by making it easier for entrepreneurs to work with the institution.

The approach is designed to allow early stage start-ups “spun out” of the university quickly to agree backing from Cambridge without having to give up too much equity in their companies.

Writing in The Times, O’Brien said Cambridge is developing the “most academic-friendly” approach to spin-out development in the country to help tackle the issue. He said the university takes an average equity stake of 10 per cent, compared with a national average of about 23 per cent.

The university is aiming to double its spin-out creation to 20 companies a year as O’Brien said it works to capitalise on what was already ranked as “the world’s most scientifically intense location”. He noted that breakthroughs in DNA, IVF and jet engines all had links to research at the university.

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