Directors' Forum - May 2024

Date of event: 
Thursday, May 2, 2024
Thursday, 2 May 2024 | 10:00 - 16:30 BST | Birmingham

The next PraxisAuril Directors' Forum will take place on Thursday 2nd May 2024 in Birmingham. The Forum will include the usual mix of strategy/policy updates as well as a chance to discuss how these translate into activity. Specifically, the programme will include a focus on the implementation of the Independent Review of Spinouts. We will be joined by a representative from Research England and hear from a number of universities that have initiated or completed a commercialisation policy and/or structural review.

Further information on the programme will be added as speakers are confirmed.

  • 09:00 - 10:00: Coffee and pastries available for networking  
  • 10:00 - 10:10: Welcome and Introduction
  • 10:10- 10:00: Implementation of the Spinouts Review – delivering Proof of Concept funding 
    • Alex Chaix (Deputy Director, Commercialisation of Research at UKRI)*
  • 11:00 - 11:45: Institutional approaches to IP policy reform and commercialisation structures – panel and discussion 
    • Josef Walker, Leicester University; Michael Parker, Northumbria University; David Coleman, Birmingham University
  • 11:45 - 12:15: Tea/coffee and networking  
  • 12:15- 13:00: Scoping KE training and recruitment needs 
    • Stuart Wilkinson and Zoë Card, PraxisAuril
  • 13:00 - 14:00: Networking lunch  
  • 14:00 - 16:20: UCI workshop** on "Accelerating Scale-Up, Anchoring Value: Building University Commercialisation Ecosystems for National and Local Prosperity"
    • Tomas Coates-Ulrichsen and Zoi Roupakia, University Commercialisation and Innovation Policy Evidence Unit 
  • 15:00-15:20: Tea/coffee break  
  • 16:20: Closing remarks  
  • 16:30: Depart 

*Due to unforseen circumstances, representatives of Research England will no longer be able to present on the programme

**UCI Workshop Overview:

This workshop at the PraxisAuril Directors Forum seeks to investigate viable approaches, strategies, challenges and opportunities for universities across the UK to build their ecosystems to both accelerate and support the scale-up of spinouts in the UK while ensuring that value from these efforts can be anchored for benefit for their local communities. It will be led by the Policy Evidence Unit for University Commercialisation and Innovation (UCI).

This comes at a time when policy attention is shifting from spinout production to scaling companies in the UK and for the benefit of the UK. As we show in our recent report – Spinning out Success: Demystifying UK university spinout trends, equity and investment – as UK spinouts scale, they are increasingly influenced by overseas markets, investors, and companies. This supports more anecdotal evidence that the UK struggles to retain spinouts as they grow and scale, with value often moving overseas.

As this debate takes hold, there is a real danger that universities are seen has having little to contribute beyond the foundation of the spinout and supporting its very early development, with scale-up largely a function of the market. This is far from reality, with evidence suggesting that universities have opportunities and available levers to play important roles in helping companies to scale. This reflects the many commercial and technical challenges technology-driven companies are typically faced with as they scale-up.

We must also not lose sight of the urgent need to tackle the significant regional inequalities that hold our nation back. As we look through 2024, it is likely that this will become an ever-growing issue for policy.

Driven by these overarching trends, in this session with KE directors, we are keen to explore how universities can help companies to scale, and in doing so, how they can work to ensure that more of the value unlocked by spinouts is anchored in their local economy.

The workshop will begin with a presentation by the UCI team, led by Zoi Roupakia and Tomas Ulrichsen, on key findings from their recent report on spinouts and reflect on the shifts in the policy debate in this area. We will then hear from a few KE directors on examples of what could be done in this space. The team will then facilitate table-top discussions to encourage the sharing of insights, experiences and examples from KE directors on the following topics:

  • What are the trends, opportunities and challenges for building local ecosystems around universities to support the scaling of spinouts in the UK and for the benefits of their local communities?

  • What strategies and initiatives can universities put in place to build their local ecosystems to support the scaling of spinouts in the UK while anchoring more of the value in their local economy?

  • What do universities need from other partners / stakeholders locally and nationally to realise these ambitions?

  • PraxisAuril members: Heads of Office (senior leaders or a nominated deputy)
  • Key sector stakeholders (by invitation only)

Novotel Birmingham City Centre,
70 Broad St, Birmingham B1 2HT

Booking for this event will close on the 24th of April. 

Places for the event are limited, early registration is advised to secure your place (multiple registrations from a single institution may be restricted). Directors who are unable to attend due to other commitments may nominate a deputy to attend on their behalf.