Knowledge transfer and commercialisation


Research & Innovation is committed to helping Royal Holloway staff to undertake knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities.  We can assist with:

  • Consultancy for external organisations: R&E provides the processes to support consultancy activity by academic staff
  • Partnerships with commercial, governmental or charitable organisations
  • Project development for commercial or non-commercial knowledge transfer
  • Identifying potential knowledge transfer partners for inventions and innovations, and conducting licensing negotiations
  • Protection of Intellectual Property when appropriate
  • The formation of spin out companies
  • Seeking sources of finance to initiate knowledge and technology transfer activities
  • Support and guidance for REF Impact Case Studies based on such activities

First steps - who to contact

The Knowledge Exchange Manager for your department can support you in exploring commercial 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 advisors, the Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Team can assist in arranging this.

Benefits of knowledge transfer and commercial activities

As well as supporting the College's strategic goal

“we will draw on our individual strengths and outputs in research and teaching to address significant global economic, cultural and social challenges”, commercial knowledge exchange activities can bring significant revenues into the university to help to support research and teaching and reward members of staff who originate or take part in such activities.

Knowledge transfer activities may also be used as the basis of Impact Case Studies to be submitted as part of the Research Excellence Framework. R&E also supports the identification and development of such opportunities.

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, for example for written material or the licensing of software written by College staff. Research & Innovation can advise on this and, if appropriate, will arrange suitable protection.  Please contact your Knowledge Exchange Manager at an early stage to discuss.

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.

Release of software developed by College staff under open source (OSS) licenses may be an appropriate course to take to maximise knowledge transfer opportunities, but in other cases may be a significant impediment to the most effective knowledge transfer outcomes. Please contact your Knowledge Exchange Manager to discuss the most effective course of action for software licensing.

Spin-out company formation

Depending on a number of factors, forming a company may or may not be the most effective way of achieving knowledge exchange. The Head of Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise is very happy to discuss this option with inventors, in accordance with RHUL’s Company Formation Policy and Procedures.  Spin-out company foundation usually requires some form of initial intellectual property protection, often patenting. If a spin-out appears to be the most effective knowledge transfer route, R&I can assist in seeking funding to support the new company.