Image for post
Image for post

Oxsed, a social venture developing rapid COVID-19 testing, has gone from spinning out of Oxford University in the summer to already being acquired and its technology deployed in airports.

Written by Stuart Gillespie

A vaccine — perhaps more than one — is on the way. Therapeutics such as the steroid dexamethasone have been shown to improve survival rates. And millions of people have been living by the mantra ‘hands, face, space’ for many months.

The other key feature of the fight against COVID-19 — part of a ‘tripod’ of medical interventions heralded by the UK prime minister Boris Johnson — is quick-turnaround mass testing. …


Renewables spinout Odqa is developing a high-tech solar receiver that improves efficiency and enables reductions to the cost of capturing and storing the sun’s energy for conversion into power.

Image for post
Image for post

Odqa, which is working on technologies for the concentrated solar power (CSP) industry, has been issued a convertible loan worth £1.2m as part of the UK government’s coronavirus Future Fund for innovative companies.

The company will use the loan to develop its flagship product after postponing a planned round of seed funding following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Company co-founder and CEO Gediz Karaca, a graduate of the MBA programme at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, said: ‘Odqa is on a journey towards creating the world’s cheapest on-demand solar power. What that means is that even when the sun isn’t shining, we can generate electricity cheaply and efficiently thanks to our aerospace technology. …


Image for post
Image for post
Chris Fellingham

The abstract nature of knowledge derived from the social sciences has often led to it being written off as common sense, or as being ill-suited to practical application. In this post, Chris Fellingham, argues that creating businesses and social ventures based on social science insights presents bold, new opportunities for social science research to deliver impact.

Social Science has long had a problem demonstrating what it knows to be true — its impact on the world. STEM colleagues happily demonstrate tangible outcomes, new molecules, new engines, new vaccines — the impact is tangible and linear. The molecule improves a chemical process, the drivetrain is 3% more efficient, the vaccine prevents disease. …


A diary from the WFH-while-homeschooling frontline, as told by OUI’s Fiona Story

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Some of us will emerge fitter, fatter, alcoholic, divorced, with an additional immunity to something (maybe our families?), or worse. Some are predicting a baby boom around next Christmas creating a generation of “coronials”. But for those of us suddenly finding ourselves WFH (working from home) with kids, some will also emerge with varying reactions: a deeper bond with their kids, a true appreciation for the class teachers, less hair, no nails or shot nerves..…..

Bear with me, as we’re gonna take the “mumsnet” short cuts here… ds (darling son), dd (darling daughter) etc, so dh (darling husband) finally joins us at 7pm (I write better after sauvignon o’clock), beer in hand — Sol not Corona since you ask — watching the latest coronavirus humorous meme — planting toilet rolls — hohoho, and laughing with the kids. …


Image for post
Image for post
Alex McCallion presents at the Bright Sparks closing ceremony

What happened when we paired Oxford University’s unique startups with Vodafone’s business leader talent?

The entrepreneur’s journey is a perilous one, especially when they are first starting out. Be it a newcomer to the scene or a seasoned veteran, entrepreneurship is a profession of dizzying heights and crushing lows. Startups and spinouts can be made on a chance encounter and succeed despite the odds, while the best laid plans can still crash and burn in unforeseen pitfalls.

One of the ways Oxford University stacks the deck for our companies is mentorship. By pairing our companies with an experienced pair of hands, we can help our newer firms spot obstacles and opportunities they may have missed and guide them in making the best of both. …


Image for post
Image for post
Richard’s Notebook

Richard Auburn, Licensing and Ventures Manager at OUI, recently shared how his dyslexia shaped his relationship with work. Here, he goes into detail on how he works with the condition while in the office.

Albert Einstein is famous for realising that gravity is due to heavy objects causing spacetime to be curved. Physics students visualise gravity by adding weights to a sheet of rubber. When I think about work, I mentally picture an image alike Einstein’s visualisation of spacetime. For me, work entails completing actions at a defined point.

I’m a Senior Licencing & Ventures Manager at Oxford University Innovation (OUI), which helps the University turn its research into reality. Much of my work involves negotiating licence deals and helping founders build tech companies. I work on multiple projects in parallel as each can take months to be realised. Time and resource management are critical as I must balance the needs of every project within my portfolio. This can be tricky as I’m not the decision maker who defines when a project will be realised. Dyslexia has been a huge help to me whilst I resolve the above challenges as I’ve spent my entire life building strategies to manage myself at school, university and work. …


Image for post
Image for post

By Serena de Nahlik, Licensing and Ventures Manager, Oxford University Innovation

Universities proliferate world-changing ideas, with concepts touching every science and discipline known to humanity. Supporting the development of these ideas is crucial in advancing technology and civilisation, casually known in university spheres as generating impact. But what is impact, and how do we measure it?

Traditionally, universities have “spun out” profit-driven companies based on STEMM technologies- think blood testing, radiation detectors and DNA sequencers. Over the past year and a half, OUI has been working with more and more purpose-driven projects, across every division within the University. We now have a pipeline of around 40 social enterprise projects, with three already in existence — Greater Change (cashless giving to the homeless), sOPHIa (a multidimensional poverty index), and Rogue Interrobang (using creative thinking to solve the world’s wicked problems). …


Image for post
Image for post
Credit: ESA/NASA

Gregg Bayes-Brown, Oxford University Innovation’s Comms Manager, shares his thoughts on the drivers and strategies surround the communication of university innovation.

My first taste of university innovation came at the Open University (OU).

A former journalist who’d gone to ground in Milton Keynes, I was involved with FutureLearn, the OU’s take on a UK-led effort to replicate the Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) movement catching fire stateside at the turn of the decade.

“A platform for teaching anyone anything anywhere for free?” I asked myself. “Sounds great. I wonder what else is out there?”

Once I scratched the surface, I quickly became addicted. I bid the OU a fond farewell, launched Global University Venturing, and spent the next few years finding university innovation stories from around the globe. …


Image for post
Image for post

Andrew Goff, Head of Consulting Services at OUI, discusses how a more diverse range of academics than ever before are warming up to consultancy.

The pool of Oxford experts available for external organisations to dive into is deeper now than ever before.

No longer is consultancy seen as the exclusive preserve of senior science professors. Increasingly, we are approached by early career staff from across the University’s Divisions, eager to apply their expertise to client challenges and have their research make an early demonstrable impact on the wider world.

In July we produced a short video in which several of our consultants described first-hand what they had got out of their consultancies and why they choose to work through OUI. Dr Oliver Cox, a heritage expert from the Humanities Division, spoke powerfully about how consultancy provides him with an opportunity to think about academic research interests in a real-world context, saying that “Consultancy gives me that bridge into relevance.” …


Image for post
Image for post

Dr Adam Stoten, Chief Operating Officer at Oxford University Innovation, reflects on the changing face of commercialisation in Oxford.

Thirteen years is a long time in technology transfer and nowhere is this more true than in Oxford, where we have seen incredible changes to our innovation ecosystem and to how we approach the business of translating IP and expertise into societal benefit. Having worked during this period in roles supporting the commercialisation of Oxford technologies — several within OUI and also in executive and board roles for some of our spinouts — it’s been a fascinating personal journey, and one that demands the occasional reflection on the past to put into context our future direction.

Back in 2005, when I first started at OUI, technology transfer was still a nascent activity in the UK. While the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial were all leaders in developing services to support academic inventors and consultants, the scale of activity was a mere fraction of what it is now. What enticed me to join the team in Oxford back then was the rate of growth, which suggested that the intellectual giant that is the community of academic researchers at Oxford had not so much woken up, but rather was turning its laser-like attention to commercialising the outputs of the university’s world class research. …

About

Oxford University Innovation

The research commercialisation office of Oxford University. #Spinouts #Startups #Universities #Venturing #Entrepreneurship #Innovation innovation.ox.ac.uk

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store