You know us. You like us. And there’s room to grow.

by Dr Paul Seabright

Recently, Cambridge Enterprise set off on an ambitious five-year plan to further improve our services commercialising University research. That’s what we do. But before we could launch new initiatives, we needed answers to some fundamental questions. The most important one was simple: how can we serve you better?

So we sent a survey to some 4,300 academics and research staff.

The response was great — 23% of those surveyed got back to us offering valuable feedback from every School at the University.

And here’s what we learned:

  • Close to 80% of you have heard of Cambridge Enterprise (CE).
  • More than 60% are aware of CE’s activities and services.
  • And of those of you who have worked with CE, a whopping 90% said you’d recommend our services to friends or colleagues.

We’ll soon be piloting some new ideas and ways that the University community can access CE’s services online. We’re looking for volunteers to give us feedback (the good, the bad, the ugly), and encourage you to get in touch if you would like to be among those piloting the roll-out of our newest digital services.HRes-Fishing

In the meantime, we’re working to enhance our offering.

The survey showed clearly that CE needs to improve its outreach and engagement across the University and, in particular, to increase the visibility of its services in the Schools of Arts & Humanities and Humanities & Social Sciences. Our new internal engagement strategies are specifically targeting the departments where commercialisation seems less relevant, but the survey also showed the importance of word of mouth in getting the news out.

Some respondents also said they weren’t sure when it is the best time to contact CE about their work. The answer: the sooner the better. We welcome a call early in your research to help you decide if there’s a commercial route. If there is, we can help you plot the best course.

We’re going to repeat the survey every few years to measure our progress. If you’re part of the University, we hope you’ll participate next time.

Finally, our congratulations go out to survey participants who were entered in a raffle to win one of three iPad Airs. The winners were: Manjeet Bolla (Department of Public Health and Primary Care), Professor Jan Maciejowski (Department of Engineering) and Dr Hugo Drochon (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities).

Illustration by Natalie Eldred for Cambridge Enterprise

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