News Feb 24th 2017

Universities Find Commercial Success for Student's Work

A standing ovation and two offers to buy the invention were what Liftuup creators were given when they presented their invention to the United Kingdom wide heads of schools. The invention is a new system that helps dental students assess and develop.

Dr Ben Mason, Liftupp's technical director says the following about the news, “We'd never even thought that other universities might be interested, let alone that within a few years most UK dental schools and other medical and healthcare departments would have bought our system.” The response to the program encouraged a Liverpool university to come up with a spin out.

The Liftuup program is an innovative way for tutors to give feedback to students who are completing their clinical placements. This is done briefly using an iPad linked to a database. The students who have used the program say they love the amount of level of feedback they receive from their tutors. In addition, this positively impacted the NSS scores in terms of student satisfaction, when conducted annually.

The University of Liverpool's Business Gateway Team invested in Liftuup and helped secure additional investors by providing business advice for them.

Liftuup has given jobs to seven University of Liverpool graduates and further holds ties with the university by offering computer science students work placement opportunities.

Mason maintains that it's helpful to have current students and graduates developing the projects and programs because they still have relevant and modern experience with the process. They also bring the latest technology to the table. Liftuup has also boosted Liverpool to a top rank in terms of research, using clinical data and working worldwide.

“Forming a company and sourcing investment provided the freedom Liftupp needed,” say Mason, who has worked on several other tools that are useful for medical students.

Just 10 years ago, chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown, told universities that they'd have to use their inventions and discoveries to start their own money making ventures. Now, there are more than 2,000 spin outs in the UK, which generated an income of more than 1 billion pounds in 2015-2016. Many of them have even joined the Stock Market.

Universities benefit from spin outs as well. They are a shareholder in the company, but they also benefit financially from the businesses.

The spin out success for Oxford University encourages other universities to take similar steps. In 2016, Oxford successfully started 24 spin outs with over 52 million pounds in stage funding, which was a brand new record in the UK.

Oxford University Innovation or OUI, has supported a wide range of ventures, including wireless energy transfer, aeronautics, big data, medicine and virtual reality. Universities can take advantage of funding, combined with crowdfunding, to get their venture going.

Cycle land is one such startup that uses bikes to bring people together. They promote bikes as a practical, affordable and environmentally friendly way for people to get around and meet new people. The founder of the company was able to get things going using funding from a university as a spin out.

University spin outs continue to crop up and are a great way to introduce new products and services in the academic realm. They promote funds and also create jobs, which extends benefits from the university to the surrounding community. Founders of these spin outs are given the opportunity to explore their passions and improve and enhance a wide range of fields of study.

Keep your eyes open and you're sure to see new spin outs creating diverse products and services that have big benefits in many areas of life.



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