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Governments across the globe are increasingly focused on developing knowledge-based economies. In addition to building capacity and skills, they are eager to demonstrate impact from their investment in research. Three years ago Cambridge Enterprise responded to this need by creating its International Research Commercialisation Open Programme.

Delegates attending the five-day intensive programme in September learned about licensing, spinning out new ventures and the delivery of consultancy by University of Cambridge academics. Through presentations, group work and case studies, we explored commercialisation processes—both in general terms and ‘how we do it in Cambridge’—as well as tackling a range of specific issues that practitioners face at home.

As in previous years, the cohort size was deliberately kept small, with just 16 attendees. There was ample opportunity to share knowledge and jointly develop solutions for the issues being addressed in participants’ university technology transfer teams. The group was very diverse, with delegates from Australia, Chile, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK, Portugal, Lithuania, Lebanon, Botswana, South Africa, Hong Kong and China.

A key focus of the programme is the opportunity for delegates to network with other technology transfer professionals. The content sparked wide-ranging discussions that enabled delegates to grasp the nuances of the topics covered. Participants left with international connections as well as new and strong links to the Cambridge Enterprise ecosystem.

Although the programme was intensive, delegates were also able to enjoy a bit of the ‘Cambridge experience’, staying in University colleges, enjoying a formal dinner at St John’s College and punting along the Backs.

It’s a very well organised programme with experienced speakers and the right balance between presentations, case studies and hands-on exercises on how (beyond patents) to commercialise research results and develop knowledge-based ventures. The course provides several tools that can be adapted to the participants’ local context. Getting to know the vibrant Cambridge innovation ecosystem, to network and to learn from other participants is the cherry on top of the cake.

Helder Lopes, Advisor to the Rectory, NOVA University of Lisbon

The programme was rewarding for the Cambridge Enterprise team too. Working with a smart and highly motivated group of delegates challenged our thinking about commercialisation, and the diversity of experience was very refreshing. Cambridge will find some tough but friendly competition in years to come and, we hope, plenty of scope for collaboration too.



Brian Corbett
Brian Corbett