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Imperial's Tanaka Business School confirmed as UK leader in Technology Transfer Research

See also...
-Tanaka Business School

Under embargo for 12.00 GMT
Tuesday 8 November 2005

The commercialisation of discoveries in science labs and the promotion of innovation in large companies is the focus of a new Professorship to be held at Imperial College London.

The £1m Chair in technology transfer in the physical sciences is the first of its kind in the UK. It will be based in the College's Tanaka Business School.

Imperials Business School is acknowledged as a leading centre for research on technology transfer

Announced today, the Chair is funded jointly by QinetiQ, the hi-tech defence and security firm, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Imperial won the funding after a major competition between UK universities.

Imperial has a strong grounding in technology transfer. In 1997 the College created Imperial Innovations, now one of the Uks leading technology transfer companies, which is dedicated to helping academics realise the business potential of their ideas and inventions.

Imperial's Business School is acknowledged as a leading centre for research on the process of technology transfer. It is currently ranked 5th globally for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times, and its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group recently won a series of major grants from EPSRC.

One thrust of the new Professor's research will be to develop a comprehensive understanding of why technology transfer models differ between biomedicine and the physical sciences or engineering.

Their research will also analyse the barriers to successful technology transfer, the role of organisational culture and incentives; and the effect of the intellectual property regime.

The search is now on to find the right candidate for the Professorship, with an appointment expected to be announced in spring 2006. The award provides funding for a Chair and a research assistant. Under its terms, the new Professor will be an eminent foreign academic and will augment UK research capacity in the field. Imperial will create additional senior posts in the field by matching funding for the award.

Professor David Begg, Principal of Imperial's Tanaka Business School, said: "Technology transfer, whether in a new business start up or as innovation within large companies, is the lifeblood of the knowledge economy, and, in the global economy, the source of a country's competitive edge.

"From teaching to research, the study of technology transfer is one of our strategic priorities. Imperial is one of Europes leading universities for technology transfer, combining leadership in the creation of scientific intellectual property and proven success in its practical commercialisation. We are delighted that the EPSRC and QinetiQ have chosen to build on Imperial strengths in seeking to deepen our understanding of how effective technology transfer takes place.

"This chair and the accompanying new appointments will allow us to create a UK platform of research excellence to rival the best in the world. We look forward to working with QinetiQ, other innovative companies, and top universities, to make this a reality," he added.


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Notes to editors:

1. Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,000) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.

2. Imperial College's Tanaka Business School is a world-class provider of business education and research, focusing primarily on Imperial strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship, finance, and healthcare management. It offers full-time and executive MBAs, Masters' programmes in Finance, Risk Management, Health Management and Management; and a PhD programme. The Financial Times currently ranks Tanaka Business School as 4th in Europe for research excellence, 10th in the world for its Executive MBA and 1st in Europe and 5th in the world for entrepreneurship.

3. Imperial Innovations is one of the UK's leading technology commercialisation companies with a strong value creation record having already generated revenues in excess of £30 million from spin-outs and licenses since 1997. The company, together with Imperials academic inventors, has established equity holdings in more than 54 spin-out companies and completed a total of 100 licence deals. Over 1,000 jobs have been created through the spin-out companies.

In April 2005, Imperial Innovations arranged a private placing of ordinary shares in the company through JPMorgan Cazenove. Imperial College now holds 71% of Imperial Innovations and institutional investors hold the balance of 29%. Imperial College London has agreed a 15 year pipeline agreement with Imperial Innovations which allows Imperial Innovations to commercialise technology originating from Imperial College's research activity.

Recent activity includes Ceres Power, a fuel cell technology company built on research from Imperial Colleges Department of Materials which listed on the stock market in November 2004 raising £21.6 million of which £16 million was for the company (£14.6 million net); HydroVenturi, a company developing a novel method to generate power from tidal currents based on research from the Department of Physics, completed a £2.5 million funding round in March 2005; NanoBioDesign, an organisation developing a range of screening systems to speed up the drug discovery process, which recently closed a funding round of £520k and ComMedica, a spin out from the Department of Bioengineering, which won a £33 million contract from the National Health Service in 2004.

4. QinetiQ (pronounced ki net ik as in 'kinetic energy') is a leading international defence security and technology company that was formed in July 2001 from the UK Government's Defence Evaluation & Research Agency (DERA). Today, QinetiQ has over 11,500 employees, who deliver technology-based services and exploit QinetiQ's strengths in technology research by selling systems solutions, products and licences to government and commercial customers in a spectrum of defence, security and other commercial markets.

5. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the UKs main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests more than £500 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyones health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. The Research Councils work collectively on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.