Big gains for university spin-offs, survey shows

Graduate start-ups also show employment and turnover growth, although fewer are being founded

April 8, 2016
Rising graphs
Source: iStock

University spin-off companies and graduate start-ups had a larger turnover and employed more people in the past academic year despite slower economic growth.

Figures for 2014-15 from the annual HE Business and Community Interaction Survey show that the combined turnover of all spin-offs with some university ownership topped £1 billion, rising about £130 million since 2013-14.

They employed 12,480 people, a gain of more than 1,000 over the previous year.

Meanwhile the turnover of graduate start-ups increased from £475 million to nearly £650 million. They employed close to 21,000 people, up from about 18,500 the previous year.

The data show that graduate start-ups are much more labour-intensive – overall they employ more people than spin-offs with some university ownership, but they have a much lower combined turnover.

The results also show that graduate start-ups seem to be getting far more external investment. In 2013-14, spin-off companies received the vast bulk of investment, while graduate-founded companies received just £74 million.

But in the past academic year graduate start-ups received more than £300 million of investment.

Growth in overall employment, turnover and investment comes despite the fact that GDP growth in the UK was slightly more sluggish in 2014-15 than it was in 2013-14.

However, there was one notable downward trend from the survey: the number of new graduate start-ups fell from 4,581 to 4,160.

Universities also made marginally more money from “business and community interactions”, such as publicly funded collaborative research, contract work, consultancy and training courses.

In February, a major survey showed that fewer academics had commercialised their research in 2012-15 compared with 2005-08, with the recession, pressures of the 2014 research excellence framework and bureaucracy blamed for the drop.

david.matthews@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard