Research commercialisation

Our world-leading research provides a wealth of commercialisation opportunities.

Photo of Helen Williams and Oonagh Mannix, founders of the company Polorum

The University's research portfolio includes a number of projects that involve collaborations with industry from the outset.

In other projects our researchers team up with world-class companies, allowing businesses to develop the research into a commercial product or service.

Routes to commercialisation

There are different routes for commercialising a technology developed at the University of Edinburgh:


Collaboration between academics and commercial partners to develop the technology further.

One of the most constructive forms of knowledge transfer, for all partners involved, is collaborative research. This is where a company and a University team work together to pursue a research objective that is of mutual benefit and is jointly managed under a collaborative agreement. This often includes a first option for the company to commercialise the results.


Licensing the technology to an existing and market-established company.

A licensing agreement with the University enables businesses to translate cutting-edge research and technology into profitable new products, processes and services. It helps to bridge the gap between the needs of the business and the expertise of our academics and allows to get the latest discoveries out of the lab and into the market. By licensing our technologies, organisations can access the latest advances in research and stay ahead of the competition.

Forming a new company

Creating a startup or spinout to take technologies to the market.

If a researcher’s work has clear potential to generate products or services, and where collaboration with an existing business is not possible or appropriate, forming a new company can be an effective route to develop and commercialise research. The terms spinout and startup both refer to new companies, where a spinout is based on University intellectual property generated by staff members, while the term startup is typically used for a student-launched company.

Edinburgh Innovations

Edinburgh Innovations (EI) is the University's commercialisation service. EI leads the University’s activities in industry engagement and business development, enterprise support for students and staff, and the identification, management and commercialisation of University intellectual property.

They serve as the primary point of contact for industry and business with an interest in the commercialisation of the University's research activities.

Edinburgh Innovations

For business

There are many ways companies can engage with our multi-disciplinary researchers and Edinburgh Innovations can deliver easy access to research, facilities, technologies and funding streams.

Work with us

Helping academic staff

Edinburgh Innovations has an established process for commercialising new ideas, discoveries or inventions arising from research. EI can assist with licensing technology to an existing company and guide you through the process of protecting intellectual property and ensuring a successful translation to market. 

They have a dedicated Business Development team who can assist with the commercialisation process and development funding. 

Business Development team (secured)  

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