New Report Highlights Oxford as the UK’s Leading University for Spinout Creation with Oxford Science Enterprises Named as Most Active Fund Focused Solely on a Single Institution 

April 4, 2022

4 April 2022: Oxford Science Enterprises, the Science Business Builder and preferred investment partner of the University of Oxford, notes that a report published today – Spotlight on Spinouts by data analyst firm Beauhurst and sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering – has ranked Oxford University as the top university in the UK for turning academic research into science-driven spinout companies.  

The University created 193 spinouts between 2011-2021 – further highlights of the report are below in the press announcement from the University of Oxford, and in the report, which can be downloaded here. 

The report also ranks Oxford Science Enterprises as the most active fund focused solely on a single institution in the last decade, having completed 92 investments totalling £891 million since founding in 2015. 

Notable investments by Oxford Science Enterprises include Vaccitech in Life Sciences, Ultromics in Health Tech, First Light Fusion in Deep Tech and Mind Foundry in Software and AI.  

Alexis Dormandy, CEO of Oxford Science Enterprises, said: 

“Oxford University and its partners have established a scientific start-up ecosystem that rivals anywhere in the world. The exciting work being done across life sciences, health tech, deep tech, artificial intelligence, and computing is truly ground-breaking and has the potential to make a positive impact in the real world and improve lives globally. We are extremely proud to be playing a significant part in nurturing this ecosystem, working with brilliant people to transform world-leading science and innovation into world-leading enterprises of the future.” 

Read the full announcement from the University of Oxford below.

 

Oxford University retains top spot for spinout generation in the UK

Oxford University has been ranked first in the UK for turning academic research into spinout companies, according to the new Spotlight on Spinouts report published today by data analyst firm Beauhurst.  

The report, sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering, has identified 193 spinouts emerging from Oxford University since 2011, ahead of Cambridge University in second place with 137, with Imperial College London and University College London ranked third and fourth, with 106 and 88 spinouts respectively.  

Oxford was also found to have the most active cluster for spinouts, with 90 such firms based in the local authority for Oxford alone.  

The report comes after several record-breaking years for innovation in Oxford, tracked by the University’s commercialisation arm, Oxford University Innovation (OUI). Through OUI, the University created 31 new companies during the 2020/21 academic year.  

OUI’s own analysis indicates that Oxford’s output is one of the highest in the world over the period, second only to ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Investment levels are also at their highest on record, with Oxford companies securing over £1bn in external investment over 2020/21. 

Oxford Science Enterprises, the science business builder and preferred investment partner of Oxford University, also performed well in the rankings. The firm has completed the most deals with the highest total value for a fund focused solely on a single institution.  

The report also shares insights into spinouts across the UK, including university equity stakes. It demonstrates that Oxford University has taken a mean average of 24.3% in equity across its spinouts since 2011. The University’s fact-based approach to equity, which applied until 2021, agreed equity holdings in line with a general trend across all UK universities. In 2021, across all UK universities, the average stake was 20.6% and is in line with the University’s new equity position of 20%. 

The report shows that there is still much work to be done to increase diversity in UK university innovation, with 86.4% of founding teams and 92.3% of director teams being all-male. There are signs, however, that this all-male trend is starting to reverse – in 2021, 21.9% of UK spinouts had at least one female founder. As part of an ongoing commitment to achieving strong representation and voice of women in decision-making at all levels, the Increasing Diversity in Enterprising Activities (IDEA) initiative was launched last year at Oxford University to better understand and accelerate diversity and inclusion in innovation and entrepreneurship activities, including spinouts. 

Report findings also point to a growing trend of investment into UK spinouts, with £2.54bn invested in 2021 compared to £405m in 2012. Average investment size too is growing, reaching £6.7m per round in 2021, up from £2.01m in 2012.  

Professor Chas Bountra, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation at Oxford University, said: 

“Already moving at pace, our innovation ecosystem is rapidly snowballing into something much larger. We are tracking more students, researchers and faculty getting involved than ever before. The University and its partners are building stronger links with industry and investment communities, attracting more support and larger investment rounds. We are building more space for innovation in the city, such as the redevelopment of the Clarendon Centre at the heart of Oxford into a spinout hub. Through this accelerating momentum, the University and its community of innovators and entrepreneurs are able to respond to the biggest crises of the day and deliver technological advancement which has a meaningful and positive impact on society.” 

Baroness Nicola Blackwood, Chair of Oxford University Innovation, said: 

“This is an exceptional achievement for the University, OUI, and all those across the maturing Oxford cluster. But there is no room for complacency. We are determined to keep listening and striving to do University-based innovation better because that’s the only way we will play our full role in solving some of the most challenging problems we face today. This is demonstrated by our recent change in equity policy, which means more equity for academic founders and a sustainable plan for reinvestment in the next generation of innovators from the University stake. And our ongoing work to we create an innovation community that attracts and supports diversity at all levels.” 

Alexis Dormandy, CEO of Oxford Science Enterprises, said: 

“Oxford University and its partners have established a scientific start-up ecosystem that rivals anywhere in the world. The exciting work being done across life sciences, health tech, deep tech, artificial intelligence, and computing is truly ground-breaking and has the potential to make a positive impact in the real world and improve lives globally. We are extremely proud to be playing a significant part in nurturing this ecosystem, working with brilliant people to transform world-leading science and innovation into world-leading enterprises of the future.” 

 

Notes to Editors:  

Oxford University has been placed number 1 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the sixth year running, and 2 in the QS World Rankings 2022. At the heart of this success is our ground-breaking research and innovation. 

Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Our work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of our research sparks imaginative and inventive insights and solutions. 

Through its research commercialisation arm, Oxford University Innovation, Oxford is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked first in the UK for university spinouts, having created more than 200 new companies since 1988. Over a third of these companies have been created in the past three years. The university is a catalyst for prosperity in Oxfordshire and the United Kingdom, contributing £15.7 billion to the UK economy in 2018/19, and supports more than 28,000 full time jobs. 

 

ENDS 

 

About Oxford Science Enterprises 

We are Oxford Science Enterprises, the Science Business Builder. We want to help solve the world’s toughest problems for more people, in more places, faster. We do this by transforming world-leading science into world-changing businesses, partnering the best scientists from the world’s best university with the best business brains. We grow our companies with care and expertise; in a way that is systematic and scalable. We invest for real-world impact, not only financial returns. And we re-invest proceeds back into the next generation of original research and world-changing businesses. 

Our enterprises address problems that affect people in life-changing ways: their health, the availability of food, the survival of the planet. Since 2015, we have received an automatic stake in all Oxford University science spinouts – more than 100 businesses founded by over 200 of Oxford’s leading academics. We have taken a leading role in creating and building over 70 of these, adding +55,000 sq ft of lab & start-up space to support them. Today our businesses are worth over £2bn and have created +2,000 jobs. 

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