Royce welcomes Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies

The Henry Royce Institute a Partnership of ten leading research organisations, with its Hub at the University of Manchester, has welcomed the Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies.  

The review examines how UK universities go about spinning-out companies to deliver impact for the UK and makes recommendations to ensure the right incentives are in place for the country to lead the world in turning university research into commercial success. It was led independently by Professor Irene Tracey and Dr Andrew Williamson at the request of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology.

The review puts forward 11 recommendations to accelerate the UK towards better commercialisation outcomes via the creation of more successful and sustainable spin-out companies, where:

  • Universities partner with their local spin-out ecosystem to prioritise the rapid creation of spin-outs on market competitive terms
  • Academics are encouraged to realise impact from their ideas through spin-outs while universities develop an entrepreneurial culture throughout the entire institution
  • Founders can access the right commercial support to create successful spin-outs

Innovation underpins Royce’s Mission to support world-recognised excellence in UK materials research, accelerating commercial exploitation of innovations and delivering positive economic and societal impact for the UK.


Royce is already aligned into a number of the important recommendations:

Ensuring funding and facilities are available for proof-of-concept to develop confidence in the concept prior to spinning-out

Royce’s Industrial Collaboration Programme (ICP) finances short-term, business-led Research and Development projects in collaboration with other key Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs); Royce also supports such industrial sprint projects through its membership of key strategic initiatives such as the Foundation Industries Sustainability Consortium (FISC).  These important industry-academic materials innovation projects focus on supporting new products, processes or services that represent a real step-change over those currently available.

In addition, the Royce Hydrogen Accelerator (RHA) is identifying R&D opportunities in materials for hydrogen and attracting investment into them – including funding support for nascent technology developments in universities.  The ambition is that the investment raised through the RHA will take a stake in both spin-out companies and/or Intellectual Property (IP) therefore accelerating technology translation into commercial reality.


Ensuring founders have access to support from individuals and organisations with experience of operating successful high-tech start-ups, regardless of the region founders are based in or sector they operate in

Royce’s extensive range of business-friendly facilities provide spin-outs and start-ups with access to state-of-the-art equipment and expertise normally only available to leading multinationals with significant R&D capability – in essence operating as a national laboratory.

Royce’s SME Access Scheme supports UK companies with access to its state-of-the-art materials science and engineering equipment – funded projects range from the development of prototypes through to characterisation of existing materials and in-situ testing. The scheme is ideal for businesses seeking solutions to both long and short term materials analysis obstacles, and is designed to overcome cost barriers and derisk experimental materials-based R&D, as well as helping to pave the way for future collaborations between academia and industry.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) should ensure that all PhD students they fund have a voluntary option of attending high-quality entrepreneurship training and increase the opportunities for them to undertake internships in local spin outs, venture capital firms or TTOs

Royce continues to develop and fund a National Training Programme for commercialisation and entrepreneurship, designed to encourage materials researchers to develop entrepreneurial skills and commercialise the results of their research.

This programme offers funding for post-graduate students to attend selected entrepreneurship programmes, including The University of Cambridge’s Impulse and EnterpriseTECH programs, as well as Wilbe’s Become a Science Founder programme.

Building a Strategy and Action Plan for innovation

Finally, Royce is also facilitating a National Materials Innovation Strategy under the leadership of an experienced Materials Innovation Leadership Group, which will shine a spotlight on the UK’s materials innovation needs.  The Strategy is prioritising focus areas where all spectrums of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) R&D should occur, based on industry needs in both the near (1-5-year) and longer (5-20-year) term future. This industry-led strategy is based on real-world needs and will build a system where university-based materials innovations have ready-made commercial applications, de-risking translation and commercialisation stages.

It will make evidence-based recommendations about where to target investment which maximises the impact from innovations – so that we are on track to develop the game-changing materials required for a range of applications from low-carbon energy to health care.

The process of developing the strategy will also generate new relationships across sectors and between end-users of materials and materials researchers, strengthening the commercialisation ecosystem.