Top UK university Imperial College is shaking up how it spins out innovative startups and taking inspiration from Stanford and MIT

Lynsey Barber
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Imperial College produces the most spin out companies in the UK (Source: Getty)

One of the UK's top universities is shaking up how it spins out innovative startups to encourage more experts to found companies and boost the UK's technology industry.

Imperial College will pilot a new programme to help researchers commercialise their technologies that gives them up to a 95 per cent share of the company.

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It's current standard programme of commercialisation is a 50/50 joint venture with Imperial Innovations, the university's tech investment arm.

The Founders Choice scheme comes as the government embarks on an industrial strategy seeking to do more to commercialise the UK's world leading research and takes inspiration from similar programmes at top universities across the pond such as Stanford and MIT.

UK universities have often been criticised for asking for too much equity in spin out firms. Stanford takes a 10 per cent equity stake, on average, and MIT five per cent.

The new scheme was created due to demand for more flexibility from academics and government, said Imperials' director of enterprise Dr Simon Hepworth.

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He said he hoped it would: "... encourage even wider engagement, more licensed spinout companies to form, increasing the recognition of research impact and commercialisation of research results, in pursuit of solutions to industrial and societal challenges.”

Imperial has produced more spin out companies than any other institution in the UK over the past decade. They include London listed firms fuel cell technology company Ceres Power and bitech firm Circassia.

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