Spin out companies

Continuing on the theme of Intellectual Property, we had another interesting presentation from Gavin Smith from Research & Enterprise Services.

Lancaster University spin out companies

Attendees learned about some examples of spin out companies that are associated with Lancaster University, such as Relative Insight Ltd which conducts semantic analysis for the marketing industry, based on a huge database of language generated from PhD research.

Gavin also explained the different roles, requirements and risks associated with Limited Liability Companies and Sole Traders.

Limited Liability Company

  • liability to the shareholders
  • accounts are published
  • risk to the company, not the individual
  • roles and requirements stipulated by Companies House

Sole trader

  • liability to individual
  • accounts are private
  • more personal risk


One benefit of forming a spin out company is that there are opportunities to apply for Research & Development funding that is not open to the University as a public body, such as from InnovateUK.

Typically, Lancaster University will invest 19% of the shares in a spin out company (risking £19), but will not help to run the company. The University does provide some ‘incubator space’ in InfoLab21 and LEC, with plans for the cTAP building and Health Innovation Campus likely to bring more.

What financial support is there regionally for start-up and spin out companies? There isn’t much available in English regions, or from Lancashire County Council. You may be interested to read more about finance and funding for businesses in Lancashire or Enterprise Ventures based in the north of England.

For more information about forming a spin out company, contact Gavin Smith directly. If you are interested in forming industry partnerships and licensing IP, rather than forming your own company, come along to the next session!

How do I engage with business, and get industry partnerships?

Wednesday 27th April, 12.00, Bowland North SR 4
A look at how to gain more meaningful and productive relationships with external partners and how be proactive in forming successful collaborative research partnerships.
Nick King/Colin McLaughlin, Business Partnerships Team, Faculty of Science and Technology



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Lancaster University Library | Research Bites

Supporting teaching, learning and research at Lancaster University.

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