Innovation leaders at Herts welcome independent review of university spin-out companies

 1 January 2023 27 November 2023
28 November 2023

As an institution who places enterprise at its core, the University of Hertfordshire has strongly welcomed the findings from an independent review of university spin-out companies that has resulted in the government pledging a new, £20m investment to support the “next generation” of specialist, innovative companies, developed from a university’s research or technological inventions.

The review, led by Professor Irene Tracey CBE, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University and member of the Medical Research Council of UK Research and Innovation, and Dr Andrew Williamson, Managing Partner of Cambridge Innovation Capital and Chair of the Venture Capital Committee at the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), acknowledged the important role that university spin-outs have on driving growth, supporting national and local economy and scaling up solutions to complex, societal challenges, and recommended a series of policies to make such businesses easier to start and more attractive for investment.

Spin-out companies from the University of Hertfordshire are pushing the boundaries of innovation in sectors including healthcare technologies, cybersecurity and more – turning cutting-edge research into thriving businesses with real-world impact.

ImmuOne, co-founded by Professor of In Vitro Toxicology Victoria Hutter and Herts PhD alumna Dr Abigail Martin, has recently received a £2m investment to scale up their healthcare technology venture. Their ‘in-vitro' lung cell model is being hailed as a revolutionary alternative to animal testing for new drugs and chemical compounds.

Also in the field of healthcare technology, FluidPharma is creating innovative solutions that enable children, older people, and others affected by difficulties swallowing to take vital drugs. The business is based on innovation by Professor Fang Liu, whose pharmaceutical research created a novel microparticle coating technology - now commercially available to drug manufacturers.

Finally, one of the University’s newest spin-out companies is improving digital investigation to tackle rising cyber-crime. Software engineering expert Dr Joseph Williams recently launched OSIRT Ltd, offering pioneering software that assists law enforcers and digital investigators to obtain digital evidence crucial to tackling cyber-crime and fraud – streamlining the investigative process and ensuring accurate and timely results.

The findings of the spin-out review, and the subsequent £20m funding announced by the government to support this activity, will help more researchers like these to transform their ground-breaking findings into commercial successes that also make a real difference to people’s lives.

Professor Wendy Wills, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Hertfordshire, said:

“The University of Hertfordshire is committed to the effective translation of its excellent research and world-class innovation into real-world impact. We’re always delighted to see the work of our academic researchers taking the next step as a commercial venture, with the prevailing aim of our research being to make a difference to everyday lives. These spin-out companies ensure that our research goes on to provide practical benefits to so many different sectors of society. They also show the contribution that universities can make, with the right funding and support, to drive economic productivity in their local region.”

As a dedicated University Enterprise Zone, Herts has a long history of supporting businesses in the region, at any stage of their journey, to launch, refine, innovate and grow their ventures, and meet their ambitions. With the government highlighting the benefits of university spin-outs to the national economy, we are proud to showcase the fantastic innovation taking place in our region and the contribution it is making to the lives of our local community – and beyond.

Read about how the University of Hertfordshire supports businesses of all kinds, at any stage of their journey, to reach their potential.


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