International Outreach Programme
Turning global knowledge into stronger economies
Regarded as one of the best knowledge transfer operations in the world, Cambridge Enterprise is frequently asked to provide advice, training and support to governments and universities around the globe that want to grow by commercialising their research and knowledge base.
Through its International Outreach Programme (IOP), Cambridge Enterprise offers its international clients consultancy support and workshops that can be as short as one day, or as long as several months and involve mentoring in the client’s home country. Academics seek out the programme to better understand how to bring their research to market.
To date, Cambridge Enterprise has helped academic and government partners in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Norway, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic and Mexico.
Brazil, which is developing a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation within its universities, has been one of the IOP’s largest projects. It is one of several countries working with the IOP to help move its economy away from one dependent on natural resources. The work in Brazil was funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK, and included courses on technology evaluation, innovation policies and how to turn university research into new companies.
Cambridge Enterprise is now working closely with a group of Cambridge postgraduate students to raise the profile of the IOP across a number of Latin American countries. For more information about this programme, contact Shirley Jamieson.
Brazil is in the process of moving towards a knowledge-based economy. As part of this evolution, developing a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation within universities has been identified as one of the contributors to economic growth. Cambridge Enterprise, through its IOP, was asked by the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office to provide training and business practice to one of Brazil’s leading university commercialisation offices.
The university was already regarded as an exemplar of commercialisation best practice throughout Brazil and Latin America, but its commercialisation office recognised that additional input would be beneficial. The IOP designed and implemented a programme which included a status review, as well as a three-day course focused on technology evaluation, innovation policies and best practice; how to stimulate the creation of new companies based on university research; setting up and managing company creation accelerators and innovation incubators; and entrepreneurial education programmes for university staff and students.
In 2015 the IOP worked with the Go To Market Programme, funded by the Chilean governmental entity CORFO. The programme lasted four months and trained and worked with Chilean universities and technology-based start-ups. The IOP designed three coordinated set of programmes oriented to provide support in the international commercialisation of technologies coming from privately or publicly-funded R&D programmes, which supported Chilean Universities, technology transfer offices, research centres and technology-based companies to improve their practices to identify potential markets and routes to market, the commercialisation of new technologies and the protection of intellectual property.
The IOP arranged a two-day programme in Cambridge for members of China’s national policy-making unit, along with representatives from the Chinese aviation industry. The first day of the programme covered the Cambridge cluster, the University and the role of Cambridge Enterprise, as well as a visit to the Cambridge Science Park and presentations by representatives from St John’s Innovation Centre and two of Cambridge’s most successful companies, ARM and Abcam. The second day featured presentations from some of Cambridge’s leading academics in the areas of physics and engineering, followed by tours of the Whittle Laboratory and the world-famous Cavendish Laboratory. The delegates also enjoyed a walking tour of King’s College and Queens’ College, and a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum.
The IOP has provided Colombia with access to vital expertise and experience in innovation and commercialisation of science-based research, so that it is in the best position to deliver on its ambitious goals for science and innovation. Colombian Prosperity & Innovation Managers have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver a pilot innovation support network, and five innovation entities have been established.
The project enabled the successful roll-out of a nationwide infrastructure that has delivered more commercialisation of research and innovation, more new innovative companies, and more rapid progress towards an economy that is founded on knowledge-based businesses.
A one-day training programme for one of Egypt’s ministries was designed to teach best practice for managing successful technology transfer and industrial liaison offices, with the objective of bridging the gap between industry and academia in Egypt. Topics covered included the evaluation of commercialisation performance, the promotion of university commercialisation activities, the role of government in promoting university enterprise activities, and an overview of invention disclosures and evaluation tools.
The IOP was asked by Nazarbayev University in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to help progress the concept and development strategy for the creation of a knowledge commercialisation cluster encompassing a technology commercialisation centre, business incubator, engineering centre, technopark and science park, situated around the university’s schools and research centres. To help cover the wide range of expertise needed for this project, the IOP convened an expert panel of people from around Cambridge with experience of economic development, science park development and management, business incubation, university–business interactions and technology commercialisation. The development of the cluster is making good progress and the IOP is looking forward to continued involvement in ensuring its success.
The IOP has delivered one-day programmes to institute directors, technology transfer officers and academics from universities tasked with becoming national centres of expertise in technology transfer and the commercialisation of science-based research. The programmes have provided a rapid awareness of the cultural environment that is conducive to encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. With examples of best practice and an overview of the strengths of the Cambridge ecosystem, participants were in a position to identify areas for change and development in their own environment.
Image: Rio de Janiero, via istockphoto. Aerial view from a helicopter of the city of Rio de Janeiro with the Corcovado mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer with Sugarloaf mountain in the background.