Cambridge Enterprise, the research commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, marked its 15th anniversary with a remarkable series of achievements.

With 304 patent applications filed, 144 licences executed, a record 441 consultancy contracts signed, and a seed fund portfolio valuation at an all time high of £124 million, Cambridge Enterprise is helping the University deliver real impact.

Our contribution to the UK economy through innovation is part of the wider financial impact of the University of Cambridge – which, according to a recent London Economics study, contributes almost £30 billion to the UK economy. Over 77% of this total contribution is the result of commercialisation of knowledge transfer activities.

Last year Cambridge Enterprise returned over £20 million to the University and its departments – supporting the development of an entrepreneurial culture and re-investing in research and education. The scale of these returns affirms the crucial role of Cambridge Enterprise in fuelling innovation on behalf of the University, and demonstrates the overall success of Cambridge Enterprise’s activity.

It has been a year for demonstrating the value and potential of University research commercialisation activities. Cambridge Enterprise also played a leading role in the publication of the TenU University Spin Out Investment Terms (USIT) guide. The guide was developed in partnership with six leading university technology transfer offices and a number of leading venture capital firms and represented the first joint commitment of both the university sector and venture capitalist community.  The guide sets out a landing zone for University led spin out deals and will be a critical tool in transforming research commercialisation in the UK, speeding up negotiations and attracting greater levels of investment.

In partnership with Cambridge Innovation Capital and the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise has also this year led to the creation of Innovate Cambridge – a new initiative to develop an inclusive, forward-looking and ambitious vision for the future of Cambridge and its innovation ecosystem. More than one hundred organisations have pledged their support by signing the Innovate Cambridge Charter, which promotes collaboration, enhancement, and the development of ecosystem-wide initiatives to realise the shared vision. Through the University Enterprise Network, Cambridge Enterprise has additionally established a new IE Cambridge initiative, which aims to make it easier for those who are interested in the Cambridge innovation space to navigate and engage meaningfully with existing activity.

Other standout moments for Cambridge Enterprise this year include:

  • The acquisition of portfolio company Gyroscope Therapeutics – a company Cambridge Enterprise has supported since its initial IP disclosure – by Novartis Pharmaceuticals for an impressive sum of up to $1.5 billion.
  • £50 million Series B funding round secured by portfolio company Nyobolt, propelling the company’s mission in sustainable energy storage, and scaling up manufacturing operations.
  • A new Commercialisation of Research out of Social Science (CRoSS) initiative in partnership with the University’s Social Sciences Impact team, funded by the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council, inspiring novel approaches to social sciences commercialisation.
  • The ongoing success of DigiVis, an innovative software to self-administer eye tests and improve medical support for eyecare, the copyright of which was licensed by Cambridge Enterprise to Cambridge Medical Innovation Limited.
  • Ongoing work to tackling the innovation gap needed to achieve Net Zero with a newly launched Sustainability Initiative, as part of the University’s leadership on and commitment to Net Zero.
  • A total of £10.6 million invested in 34 spin outs in the last financial year.

There has been much to celebrate this year. Universities have long been bastions of optimism and innovation, continuously seeking solutions to global challenges. Cambridge Enterprise is unwavering in its commitment to translating these solutions into real-world impact, benefitting both the economy and the broader society. With the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence and the convergence of physical and digital worlds, the coming decade is poised to be more disruptive than ever. Cambridge Enterprise will therefore seek to increase the impact and influence of University research, acknowledging the urgency for these transformative technologies and supporting the thriving UK innovation ecosystem.

As Cambridge Enterprise continues to push the boundaries of human knowledge and enable extraordinary innovations, it stands as a shining example of the transformative power of academic research and its potential to shape a prosperous future for all.

The University of Cambridge has been delivering impact from research for centuries. Cambridge Enterprise continues to build on this commitment and this year has supported 34 new companies transforming the world through sustainable solutions, healthcare, imaging technologies and AI.

Professor Deborah Prentice, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge

In the recent Knowledge Exchange Framework 2 results published by Research England, Cambridge secured top marks for IP commercialisation, research partnerships and work with business. Sitting at the heart of a thriving and dynamic ecosystem, Cambridge Enterprise has been central to this success. It helps turn University research into high-impact new ventures which make a positive change to people's lives, create new jobs and support economic growth locally, nationally and globally.

Professor Andy Neely OBE, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, University of Cambridge

This year Cambridge Enterprise distributed £20.9 million of innovation returns back to the University of Cambridge, demonstrating the importance of Cambridge Enterprise in delivering both social and economic value.

Ajay Chowdhury, Chair, Cambridge Enterprise

Cambridge is the UK's most successful entrepreneurial ecosystem and one of the world's leading innovation clusters. Cambridge Enterprise is an important engine in delivering economic impact for the University of Cambridge, with knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities forming a significant proportion of the University's contribution to the UK economy.

Dr Diarmuid O'Brien, Chief Executive, Cambridge Enterprise
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