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Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, acts as the universities-HEFCE knowledge exchange framework champion, guiding HEFCE’s work on the framework programme from the perspective of university leadership. Professor McMillan led a group of university experts to review good practice in technology transfer, as one aspect to the university knowledge exchange framework.

The review focuses on technology transfer, defined as the processes of spinning out new companies based on university intellectual property (IP) and licensing IP to existing companies. The review report stresses that technology transfer is just one route to impact, and universities should take the route appropriate to the specific technology in any particular case. National policy should continue to be focused around all forms of knowledge exchange.

The review looks at extensive evidence on UK and overseas practice and performance in technology transfer, and concludes that UK universities are internationally competitive in their practices. National and institutional policies for technology transfer need to be context-specific, reflecting university characteristics, the nature of the technology (such as its technology sector) and entrepreneurial features of place (the ecosystem of the university).

The report recommends greater attention to the leadership and governance dimensions of technology transfer, improved evidence and understanding of the implications of ecosystems and technology sector differentiation for successful technology transfer, and continuing support for the UK’s strong technology transfer professional community (PraxisUnico) and academic entrepreneurs.