PraxisUnico reports from IPO/Big Innovation Centre Triple Helix Conference

Global Triple Helix Conference - Collaborate to innovate: Empowering the Users of University Generated Knowledge

9th July

Dr Kathryn Walsh who sits on the Advocacy Portfolio group at PraxisUnico attended this conference and kindly submitted this report.

This conference held a lunchtime session hosted by the Intellectual Property Office and the Big Innovation Centre on the theme of Universities in open innovation.

There were 3 sections to the event. The first was the launch of a draft academic paper “How businesses can work with universities to generate knowledge and drive innovation” by Birgitte Andersen, Muthu De Silva and Charles Levy of the Big Innovation Centre. (A joint initiative of the Work Foundation and Lancaster University   The paper, based on survey data from 200 companies, and in depth interviews with 14 companies, looked at successful and less successful parts of the University / company interaction. With masses of data on what works well – and not so well, the paper emphasises the critical aspects of relationship building, the role of the technology transfer office in supporting collaboration beyond initial introductions, and the importance of a portfolio of activities sustaining a relationship, rather than a single project.  There is much in this work to interest the PraxisUnico community. 

We have launched a public consultation on the report titled, ‘Collaborate to innovate: How The second section of the event was presentations from companies large and small. Steve Legg, UK Leader for the IBM UK University Relations Programme described the IBM University engagement model, and highlighted collaboration with Universities on issues such as course development to meet business needs. A particular example was a module on “Big data analytics” being piloted with Warwick and Manchester Universities together with Imperial College.

Sergio Lopez Figueroa, Director of the Big Bang Lab, and who describes himself as a cultural entrepreneur,  gave a small company perspective on collaborative working focusing on a cultural and digital perspective. He highlighted a raft of new models to support innovation. These included Wayra, (  where telefonica and partners invest in early stage business ideas, sometimes with a social focus, or the Google-supported Campus ( in East London providing an innovation support environment.

The third section was a presentation from Elaine Eggington of IP Pragmatics Ltd on the review of the Lambert Toolkit. The review commissioned by the IPO, and published as Collaborative Research between Business and Universities: The Lambert Toolkit 8 Years On,  looked at the use of the agreements, their impact and areas for improvement.

The review, based on both survey and interview data, found a high awareness of the Lambert agreements amongst respondents, although awareness was lower in SMEs.  Perhaps surprisingly, given the objectives of the agreements, only 3% of the respondents used them unmodified. However, 60% of respondents felt that the agreements saved time negotiating contractual relationships overall. The survey also explored non-IP related barriers to contract negotiation, highlighting the publication versus confidentiality issue, and the challenges of reaching agreement on liabilities and warranties.  A particular area identified for future development was a Lambert agreement for KTP, where often the company is an SME with little contract negotiation experience. 

The review is available for download here.