Ways of working with industry
Taking your research and expertise to the wider world.
There are many ways to engage with industry, commercialise your research, and share your expertise – but broadly speaking they tend to fall into four areas:
- Industry research partnerships: Imperial researchers partner with businesses on research that uses the power of academic problem-solving to create insights and intellectual property (IP) that address important industry challenges. Partnerships can range from a single PhD project to a large-scale programme or centre, and allow Imperial staff to access funding and sectoral expertise from the industry partners.
- Spinout companies: a private company created by Imperial academics or research staff to commercialise their inventions.
- Licensing: a company pays to use and to commercially develop IP created at Imperial
- Consulting: an external organisation hires you independently to use your existing knowledge and expertise to solve problems for them.
For research partnerships and consulting, the company is interested primarily in you, your research capabilities, and your expertise. Spinout companies and licensing opportunities are based around specific IP you have developed, and often your expertise as well as ongoing involvement.
Consulting vs collaborative research
Consulting often starts as a short-term engagement and is based wholly around the needs of the client, whereas research partnerships tend to be a longer-term commitment and are designed to yield novel insights that serve a combination of scientific curiosity and industry needs.
Spinning out vs licensing
If you have developed IP with commercial potential, deciding whether to start a spinout company or license it to an existing company involves considering many factors – including the nature of the IP, whether you are likely to develop more new IP, whether there are potential industry partners that have the skills and facilities to take your technology forward, and your own preferences and ambitions. Our commercialisation specialists will work closely with you to determine the best option for you.
Where to start
To access support from Imperial Enterprise, begin by contacting one of our specialist teams:
- For research partnerships, spinout companies and licensing, please contact your faculty’s Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation (IPC) team
- For consulting, please contact Imperial Consultants