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Universities called upon to release IP to fuel UK start-up growth

04 Oct 2012

The Institution of Engineering (IET) has called on the government to free up intellectual property in universities so it can be used by entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses.

The society for engineers and technicians has argued that businesses need to be able to harness university advancements in technology, if they are to boost the UK economy.

"Taxpayers are already funding the creation of innovative intellectual property in our universities, so it seems reasonable to make it more freely available to UK SMBs that are best positioned to add value and commercialise it," said IET president Andy Hopper.

"Universities should be encouraged and incentivised to kick start the development of new technologies and products by openly assigning the required IP to dynamic British businesses at minimal extra cost.

"In return, maybe the university could get a one or two per cent shareholding - more of a goodwill gesture than a conventional transaction."

Hopper, who took his role as IET president this week, also said the government needs to create a chief engineering and technology advisor to ensure national infrastructure projects, like creating faster broadband networks and installing smart grids, get the expertise they need.

He said the lack of engineers at senior levels in government is "the elephant in the room."

Meanwhile, the start-up community has been particularly active this week with a number of new IT firms hitting the market at the annual Demo start-up conference, especially in the area of big data analytics.

The start-up conference saw over 70 new technology companies launch this year, with 10 of these focussed on big data. Demo has been the launchpad for some of the world's most successful IT companies, including Autonomy, Salesforce and VMware.

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