Technology pays off at unique one stop shop

The University Technology portal creates an access point for investors and simplifies the transfer process

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Matching investment to opportunity, in a groundbreaking one-stop shop for global businesses, University Technology is an exciting collaboration of all Scotland’s higher education institutions. First set up 12 years ago, the University Technology website provides a single location for showcasing the latest technology opportunities for licensing university-developed technologies.

By bringing together more than 150 technology opportunities from all industry sectors in one place, the University Technology portal creates a straightforward access point for companies seeking leading-edge technology solutions and provides them with a fast-track for transacting with downloadable standardised contracts for rapid turnaround.

What makes the UT portal additionally attractive is that it offers innovative companies the chance to take on a partially developed idea, and develop the product further, rather than just starting from scratch. With patents coming on stream all the time, interested businesses can sign up to receive alerts from University Technology about any new IP, tailored to specific sectors and applications.

Pictured: Robert Goodfellow
Pictured: Robert Goodfellow

However, whilst the UT portal makes the process of finding and buying into innovative technology solutions straightforward for companies, it can also be the first step to building more personalised relationships with Scottish universities. Companies often go on to forge further valuable links between with universities, leading to collaborative research and development projects that may deliver ground-breaking products and services. For Robert Goodfellow, Head of Technology Transfer at Heriot Watt University, this represents a clear win-win, with this level of exposure and accessibility also benefiting Scotland’s universities, and driving further innovation through the additional collaborative potential.

“I believe that having a platform such as University Technology not only makes it easier for the companies seeking new technologies and ideas, but also provides a great platform for the universities to promote their capabilities,” says Goodfellow.

“By collaborating and working together we can showcase the wealth of knowledge that we have to offer, create greater visibility for our academic expertise and encourage more collaborative research and development.”

With universities currently responsible for around one fifth of UK patent applications, they must seek a reasonable return on technology licenses with industry. Crucially though, that return is dependent on the success of a technology when it is sold by the licensee company as a product.

And this delivers wider economic impacts. University Technology is proving invaluable to Scotland’s higher education institutions when it comes to helping to bridge the opportunity gap with innovative companies – in Scotland in particular.

Indeed, such has been the success of the University Technology model, unique to Scotland when it was established in 2004, that other countries are realising they can support – and attract – potential investors by setting up similar online resources.