Innovation Ecosystems

The McMillan Group’s (2016) review of technology transfer recommended the development of an ecosystem approach that was specific to the UK.

The McMillan Review identified a number of important aspects of ecosystems, including external factors to universities and internal institutional enablers and barriers to technology transfer. It drew on good practice from elsewhere in the world, including insights from entrepreneurial places such as Silicon Valley and Kendall Square in Boston.

Against this background, this study, commissioned by Research England, and involving partners from London universities, NCUB and the British Business Bank, has commissioned a number of studies to progress plans to inform its work through comparisons and dialogue with other entrepreneurial ecosystems and ecosystem builders overseas.

These were intended to follow two stages:

Stage One: 

  • produce a Literature review on the concept of the entrepreneurial university ecosystem, including a summary of the likely key relevant features of the London ecosystem
  • develop a high level conceptual model for a ‘general’ entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a tailored model for London for further testing. The steering group considered the scale and range of the challenge of conducting a deep dive evidence collection on the London ecosystem. Before the Covid-19 pandemic they agreed to conduct scoping studies to mitigate some risks and expand understanding of issues and methodologies in advance of commissioning a deep dive
  • prepare a Technical report on the options to compile further evidence, including though primary data collection, to test the model in London in order to inform policy-makers at later stages in the project.

A report from the steering group outlining the project’s aims and objectives can be found here.

Stage two:

The steering group is currently reviewing next steps on the project in the light of the current Covid 19 crisis and recovery, which may affect both approaches to take forward the work and its goals.  This page will be updated in due course with more information.

Since the end of stage one, the group has continued to progress plans to inform its work through comparisons and dialogue with other entrepreneurial ecosystems and ecosystem builders overseas. The steering group commissioned SQW consultants to inform their approach through providing a framework to help identify comparators, as well as some very initial suggestions of ecosystem matches. The summary report of the work is available here: Towards the development of a framework for identifying comparable entrepreneurial-university ecosystems in the UK and USA

Plans for face to face dialogue with international comparators have now been moved to 2021.

For further information and to provide feedback please contact: KEpolicy@re.ukri.org.

Members of the universities/Research England “modelling the entrepreneurial-university ecosystem: London demonstrator” steering group

  • Professor Andrew Jones
    Vice-President (Research and Enterprise), City, University of London – Chair
  • Professor Julia Black
    Pro Director for Research, London School of Economics
  • Professor Javier Bonet
    Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), University of Greenwich
  • Alice Frost
    Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England-UKRI
  • Alice Hu Wagner
    Managing Director for Strategy, Economics and Markets, British Business Bank – Hugh Taylor, BBB
  • Professor Nick Jennings
    Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise), Imperial College
  • Dr Joe Marshall
    Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Business
  • Professor G J Rodgers
    Vice-Provost Research, Brunel University London
  • Dr Emma Wakelin
    Director of Research and Innovation, Royal College of Art
  • Professor David Oswell
    Pro-Warden (Research and Enterprise), Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Sharon Ellis
    Director of Research and Business Development, Queen Mary University of London
  • Dr Anne Lane
    Chief Executive Officer, UCL Business Ltd
  • Dr Chris Gibson
    Senior Policy Adviser, Research England-UKRI

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