Scotland business

Scottish universities top UK spin-outs survey

Patient wearing Ambulight PDT device
Image caption Medical device firm Ambicare Health is among dozens of firms created by Scots universities

Scottish universities have produced more spin-out companies over the past decade than any other part of the UK, a survey has suggested.

New internet database Spinouts UK said Scottish institutions had created 172 firms, followed by London (115) and the south east (85).

Edinburgh topped the list for the period 2008 to 2010 with 16 spin-outs.

The database details commercialisation of intellectual property at institutions across the UK.

London's Imperial College produced more spin-out businesses than any other UK university between 2000 and 2010 with 59, followed by Oxford (55), Edinburgh (49), Cambridge (44), Warwick (36) and Strathclyde (35).

Of the 172 firms created by Scottish institutions, 125 are still active.

Successful spin-outs north of the border included Scottish medical firm Ambicare Health (Dundee's Ninewells Hospital and St Andrews University) and technology firm Memex (Heriot-Watt University), which was bought by US software giant SAS for an undisclosed sum last year.

The study's author, Jonathan Harris, said the survey for the first time provided hard facts and figures on an area of great importance to the UK economy.

He added: "By providing this information we hope to help universities produce more successful spin-outs and commercialise more innovations and inventions, fuelling economic growth which is vital in the current economic climate.

"Despite promising signs, the UK is not yet commercialising its tremendous intellectual property and innovation in the same way as the United States. I hope this survey and our annual updates will help to change that."

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