Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Overvaluations 'Stifle' University Spin-Offs

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Overvaluations 'Stifle' University Spin-Offs

Article excerpt

Some universities are overvaluing their intellectual property and may be preventing spin-off companies from making it big, according to a leading figure in engineering.

Dame Ann Dowling, who is set to become the next president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said that institutions are stifling innovation by trying to keep hold of their original share in start-ups, which discourages others from putting in the funds needed to grow the businesses.

But an expert in the commercialisation of academic research said that it is the lack of venture capital that limits spin-off company growth, not "greedy universities".

The issue came up when the RAE discussed innovation with its fellows ahead of a government consultation on science and innovation strategy, due to be published this autumn.

Dame Ann, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Cambridge and head of its engineering department, told Times Higher Education: "Possibly universities overestimate the value of their intellectual property."

Universities typically buy a share in the early stage of ventures that are spun off to exploit new ideas. …

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