Do you have an idea that you think has commercial potential?

Every idea is different. We can help you transform your ideas into commercial opportunities attractive to organisations that can bring them to market. We do this through collaboration both with you and with external parties to help you achieve your goals. 

We are experienced in creating beneficial impact from research originating from across all of the University’s Schools. Whether you have the seed of an idea, a piece of software, or an invention that is already well defined, we encourage you to get in touch for a confidential discussion to see whether we can help you take it forward.

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Hear from the experts

Watch Technology and Knowledge Transfer experts guide you through the commercialisation process

Why commercialise your research?

Create beneficial impact from your research

Many University researchers find it very satisfying to see their ideas having a positive impact in the outside world.

Finding a partner to commercialise your research – through licensing or by creating a spin-out – demonstrates the value of your work to society, and can generate valuable impact case studies.

Grow your network of contacts and ideas

As you talk to people about your ideas, you may discover real-world problems that can either be solved by your current ideas or become new areas of research for you.

Through the commercialisation process, you will build a network of non-academic contacts who are relevant to your area of research, such as potential industry partners, investors and external experts. Some of these external contacts may support or fund your future research projects.

Generate revenue from your research

Successful development of an early stage idea into a commercial product is complicated and can take a long time. Once your product reaches the market, it will also take time for sales to grow significantly.

If revenue is generated, as an intellectual property (IP) creator you can either take your revenue share personally or donate it to other contributors, your Department for research, or other cause.

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Benefit from our expertise and support

We are experts at helping University of Cambridge members create beneficial impact from their knowledge and ideas.

We work closely alongside you, carefully guiding and mentoring you through the process of assessing and developing ideas and inventions into commercial and social enterprise opportunities.

We also take care of the administrative side of the process, negotiating optimal terms for any licence agreements, and dealing with the paperwork and processing of payments.


We offer support by:

  • Evaluating the market potential of your idea
  • Working with you to develop an optimal commercialisation strategy for your idea
  • Helping you to understand, manage and protect the intellectual property (IP) underlying your research
  • Helping you to build your idea into an attractive business opportunity
  • Negotiating optimal licensing terms and managing any license contracts and revenue generated on your behalf

The process

1) Tell us your idea

The first step is to tell us why you believe your idea may be commercially interesting; we will then explore if we can collaborate with you to turn it into an opportunity attractive to industry or investors.

It’s never too early to get in touch. Whether you have an idea that’s still germinating, research findings that have already attracted commercial interest, or would just like to find out more about research commercialisation, we are happy to have a chat.


2) Initial evaluation

Once you have made contact with us we will arrange to talk confidentially with you about your idea.

This conversation is the next step toward finding out how we can work together to turn your idea into an opportunity attractive to industry or investors.

During this conversation we will explore with you:

  • What your idea is and why you think it might be commercially interesting
  • What particular technical, commercial or social problem your idea is solving 
  • What the demand is for this problem to be solved
  • What sort of organisation could use your idea to become more commercially successful
  • Whether your idea is similar to something that already exists, and how your idea could deliver additional benefit
  • How you would like to take the idea forward
  • If Cambridge Enterprise is not the right organisation to help you take your idea forward, others may be able to help. In such cases, a good starting point is the University Enterprise Network.

3) Building a commercial opportunity

If there is a commercial idea that we can work on together, we will ask you more about the underlying research. This is so that together we can develop an understanding of the benefits the idea may have and what sorts of organisations would value those benefits.

We will help you undertake an analysis of the commercial environment to gather information about the attractiveness of your idea’s benefits to the marketplace.

Together we will explore which specific organisations may be interested. This may include reviewing the competitive landscape and looking at potential competitors already on the market.

We will work with you to develop a commercialisation strategy that works for you, to develop your idea into an opportunity of interest to the market. This may include: prototype development, further market assessment, developing and implementing an appropriate IP strategy, marketing the benefits of the opportunity, assisting with applications for additional ‘translational’ or early stage funding (from research councils, charities and other entities), or helping you create a spin-out company.

4) Commercial journey

The commercial journey can be short (for example, if your idea is a research tool that is ready to be used by others without further development), or can be long and involved (for example, if your idea is an early stage technology that requires considerable development work to be of commercial interest). We are here to support you throughout the process, expertly guiding and mentoring you.

Our long-term goal is to license the opportunity, either to an external organisation or to a spin-out with which you are involved. We will manage the commercial relationship and negotiation of an agreement that gives the licensee the right to commercialise. Throughout the term of any agreed licence we aim to ensure the opportunity is being developed and commercialised by the licensee.

Any revenue we receive from the commercialisation will be shared with you, your Department and the University according to the University’s intellectual property (IP) policy (for registrable rights).

Please note, if the process involves the sharing of confidential information with an external party, then it may be important to have a confidential disclosure agreement (known as a CDA or NDA) in place.


The journey of a University idea

You have come up with an exciting commercial idea – but what do you do next?

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Have an idea or commercial opportunity and ready to take the next step?

It’s never too early to get in touch. Whether you have the seed of an idea, a piece of software, or an invention that is already well defined, we encourage you to get in touch for a confidential discussion to see if we can help you take it forward.



Research tools and NHS collaboration

If your commercial idea involves a research tool, such as a reagent, or a piece of software that you have developed during your research, or is based on NHS-related research, please follow the links below for further information.

Adding value to research tools

We are experienced in the licensing of research tools.

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Realising the market potential of software

The commercialisation of software is one of our key areas of expertise.

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Working with the NHS

The protection and commercialisation of IP generated by University-NHS collaboration.

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Further information

Learn more about IP, translational funding, and how you can develop your skills & network.

IP resources Translational funding Develop your skills & network

Confidentiality agreements