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Income generated from the University of Cambridge’s commercialisation activities continued to rise in 2010, as did the number of intellectual property, consultancy and equity agreements signed on behalf of the University and its researchers.

Responsible for the commercialisation of University research, Cambridge Enterprise recently announced its results for the 2010 financial year. Income from licensing, consultancy and equity realisations was £8.4 million, of which £6.6 million was or will be distributed to academics and departments.

Cambridge Enterprise currently provides support to close to 1,000 University researchers at all stages of the commercialisation process, from supporting grant proposals, to licensing technology to existing companies, through to funding new companies and ventures.

The past year saw a significant increase in consultancy activity, with the number of signed agreements up 33% and the number of new agreements up 37% over 2009. One third of this year’s consultancy projects were from new academic consultants.

The types of consultancy projects vary widely from tendered public contracts to expert witness work. The broad scope of projects reflects the wide range of University research that is in demand by both industry and government.

Cambridge Enterprise also invests intellectual property and cash to create new companies and ventures based on Cambridge research. Currently, Cambridge Enterprise holds equity in 72 companies and manages ‘evergreen’ seed funds on the University’s behalf.

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the Challenge Fund, established as part of a national government initiative to fund university innovation. Over the past decade, the University of Cambridge Challenge Fund has supported the development of 23 companies, which have gone on to raise close to £120 million in funding.

The Challenge Fund is one of the three funds managed by Cambridge Enterprise, along with the University Venture Fund and the University of Cambridge Discovery Fund. The Discovery Fund, launched in 2008 as part of the 800th Anniversary Campaign, has so far raised £1.5 million of its £5 million goal. This year, the Fund made seed investments in two new Cambridge spin-outs: Sphere Fluidics, which is developing droplets that serve as ‘miniature test tubes’, and PneumaCare, which has developed a novel non-contact lung monitoring device, currently in trials at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Companies receiving seed funding from Cambridge Enterprise have gone on to raise more than £600 million in funding

This year marks three full years for Cambridge Enterprise operating as a wholly owned affiliate of the University. During this period, nearly 900 IP transactions were completed, the number of consultancy projects increased by more than 70%, and companies receiving seed funding from Cambridge Enterprise have gone on to raise more than £600 million in funding.

Income from licensing, consultancy and equity transactions for the period exceeded £27 million, with over £22 million of that amount being returned to University researchers and departments.

Photo credit: University of Cambridge by llee_wu via Flickr