As part of its ongoing commitment to enterprise the University has, over the last year, revitalised its approach to supporting the commercialisation of research through spinouts. Notable developments include a new spinout policy, an expanded professional support team, a business incubator and partnership in a midlands-wide initiative.
During this period, three spinout companies have been launched from across the University’s research portfolio.
Previsico specialises in modelling flooding in real-time to save lives and livelihoods worldwide. Underpinned by more than 20 years’ research led by Professor Dapeng Yu, Previsico’s unique technology uses the latest rainfall predictions to make property-level flood forecasts and warnings.
Zayndu increases agricultural yield through unique equipment which kills bacteria and fungi on seeds without pesticides. Underpinned by Dr Felipe Iza’s research in non-vacuum plasma sterilisation, Zayndu eliminates the need for toxic chemicals, providing a replacement just as many of these toxins are banned internationally; while also offering the industry’s lowest treatment costs.
Launched in the University’s new Incubator initiative, based at LUSEP, Previsico and Zayndu have been supported, including financially, by Innovate UK’s iCURE, which enables early-career researchers to explore the commercial potential of their research. The RAs which have supported the work are now in full-time employment in the spinouts.
Previsico has secured over £0.5M funding and created seven technical roles – rising to 23 by the end of the year – as well as several graduate internships. Zayndu has expanded into the Advanced Technology Innovation Centre to scale the technology for industrial batch sizes.
Professors Mark Lewis and Mark King are leading a third new venture to provide commercial services around the assessment and development of work-related performance of top executives, which capitalises on the University’s leading reputation in sport sciences. The spinout PQ (Physiological Quotient) sees the University partner with executive coaching consultancy, The Holywell Partnership Limited.
In recognising spinouts as an important mechanism to commercialise research, the University – through the Commercialisation Team in Research and Enterprise – has sought to develop a transparent SpinOut Policy that seeks to encourage and nurture entrepreneurship.
The Commercialisation Team has increased its core staffing to manage the volume of licensing and spinouts opportunities, build business plans, source funding and secure management for prospective spinouts, and to develop the Incubator into a vibrant and supportive environment with a network of experienced mentors for new companies (graduate startups, academic spinouts and spin ins).
Jonathan Jackson has been appointed Royal Society Entrepreneur in Residence. A successful serial entrepreneur, Jonathan is mentoring prospective spinouts and helping the University develop a sustainable entrepreneurial pipeline and ecosystem.
Partnership in MICRA, the Midlands Innovation Commercialisation Research Accelerator, provides a much larger industry and investment shop window for the University’s innovations, as well as entrepreneurial training, proof of concept or incubator funds and a wider network of mentors and advisors.