Poor spin-off returns 2

February 18, 2005

Ederyn Williams' commentary on the commercialisation of university research ("Uncle Sam's out in front, but we're hot on his heels", February 4) highlights how difficult it is to make international comparisons. The figures for 2001-02 reveal different patterns for economies that have similar higher education systems.

Australia, for instance, boasted 85 licences, with a gross income of $16 million (£8.5 million) and 22 start-ups. The US derived $31 million from 120 licences and had 15 start-ups, while the UK had 332 licences, a gross income of $10 million and 68 start-ups.

Relative to the position in the US, UK institutions appear to be paddling hard for modest return.

Paul W. Wellings
Vice-chancellor
Lancaster University

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