Knowledge transfer and commercialisation

Research & Enterprise is committed to helping Royal Holloway staff to undertake knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities. For example, we can assist with:

  • Consultancy for external organisations
  • Partnerships with commercial, governmental or charitable organisations
  • Project development for commercial or non-commercial knowledge transfer
  • Identifying potential licensees and licensing negotiations
  • The formation of spin out companies
  • Seeking sources of finance to initiate commercial activities

Benefits of knowledge transfer and commercial activities

As well as supporting the College's strategic theme 'to ensure that our intellectual and physical assets make their full impact and contribution in support of the economy, public services and wealth creation', commercial activities can bring significant revenues into the university.

Royal Holloway's Exploitation of Inventions and Patents code of practice allows inventors to share a substantial proportion of the net profits from any commercialisation activity.

If you have access to the Royal Holloway staff intranet the full Exploitation of Inventions and Patents PDF file can be opened in a new window.

Protection of Intellectual Property (IP)

In many cases, successful commercialisation of research results or original ideas requires that they are protected to safeguard the interests of the inventors and the College. This can involve patent protection or consideration of copyright issues. Research & Enterprise is able to advise on this and, if appropriate, to arrange suitable protection.

If you have research results which you feel may have commercial value, we would encourage you to discuss these with your Research and Business Development Manager at an early stage. In many cases publication, or even presentation at a conference or poster event will remove the possibility of patent protection. Where there is a compelling commercial case, we can arrange patenting very rapidly to allow for timely publication.

As well as protecting any potential commercial interests of the College and the inventors, it should be noted that it is now a requirement of many public/charitable and commercial funders that intellectual property is adequately protected.

Example knowledge transfer and commercialisation projects

Licensing the results of research: Physics, Oxford Instruments

Researchers in the Physics Department, with EPSRC funding, have developed novel techniques for measuring ultra-low temperatures below 4 degrees Kelvin.

These have been protected via a patent, which has been licensed to Oxford Instruments NanoScience. More details can be found on the knowledge transfer and commercialisation page.

Licensing software: Earth Sciences, Midland Valley Exploration

Midland Valley Exploration (MVE) is a world leader in the field of structural geology and the development of analytical geological modelling tools.

MVE has an exclusive license to use and re-sell software developed in the Earth Sciences Department of Royal Holloway. More details can be on the knowledge transfer and commercialisation page.

Proof of commercial concept: Smart Card Centre

Based on research results and industrial contacts, including consultancy work, researchers in the ISG Smart Card Centre developed a novel concept for protecting the security of systems based on RFID cards, such as the Oyster Card system.

Research & Enterprise was able to acquire funding to develop a prototype system to prove the practical and commercial viability of the concept to potential licensees. The researchers' core idea has been protected by patenting.

Commercialisation collaboration: Computer Science, Thinking SAFE Ltd 

Thinking SAFE Limited is a software company based in the Royal Holloway Enterprise Centre supplying data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity solutions.

The company is working with Royal Holloway to integrate intelligent agent technology developed by the Computer Science Department into the next generation of its products, with both parties sharing in the resulting revenues. Research & Enterprise acquired funding to support the Royal Holloway contribution to the collaboration.

Spin out company: Media Arts, Reelives Ltd

Reelives Ltd is a spin out company originating from the Media Arts Department at Royal Holloway. is the world's first global social networking site, aimed at a community that no other networking site is targeting; a community with both time and money, who grew up with home movies shot on film and video - the original User Generated Content.

Research & Enterprise has acquired investment from a number of sources to enable the company to set up and market its website and to set up its film and video conversion operation.

It is sometimes assumed that university spin out companies are necessarily based on intellectual property from scientific research. Although many are, Reelives demonstrates that research in other disciplines can also lead to spin outs.

Courses for external organisations: Information Security Group/Post Office

The Information Security Group (ISG) was approached by the Post Office to provide training on information security to staff at various levels in the organisation. By making relatively minor modifications to existing MSc course modules, the ISG was able to satisfy the requirements of this high-profile customer.

Such projects are usually only feasible where there is an identified customer and where existing material can be easily modified to meet their needs. Your Research and Business Development Manager will be able to advise on potential opportunities.

First steps / who to contact

The Research & Business Development Manager for your department (see Research and Enterprise Contacts) can advise about opportunities; negotiate contractual terms and agreements; assist in seeking finance for commercial projects and arrange for IP protection if appropriate. Where the establishment of strategically significant new relationships with external organisations would benefit from input from specialist consultants, for example an expert in sales and marketing or in the development of complex collaborations, the Research and Business Development Team may also be able to assist in arranging this.

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