Working with R&I

Turning an invention into a successful product is an exciting and challenging process that requires a team approach among inventors, R&I, investors and business partners in industry. R&I facilitates the early stages of this process by:

  • diligently evaluating, and, where appropriate, patenting inventions with significant commercial potential;
  • identifying resources and opportunities, such as incubation funding (Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept Fund) or training opportunities such as ICURe or the RSE Enterprise Fellowship, to further validate and develop commercial applications of an invention; and
  • working closely with inventors to market and license inventions to business partners to create new ventures that can lead exploitation

R&I will coordinates all aspects of evaluating, patenting, marketing, licensing or creation of a spin-out in relation to a new invention. Inventors, their College and the University, all share in the proceeds generated from exploitation of inventions. For more information on sharing of royalty income and founding equity sharing in spin-outs view our Policy for Intellectual Property and Rewarding Participation in Commercialisation.

From lab to market the technology transfer process is summarised below:

Diagram showing the normal stages in the commercialisation process

Report an invention

Inventors are encouraged to contact our office and/or submit an Invention Disclosure Form as early as possible and crucially before a public disclosure of the idea or invention. The Invention Report Form is designed to gather specific information that will enable evaluation of the invention's patentability and commercial potential.

Patentability & Commercial Assessment

Each Invention Report is evaluated for commercial potential and patentability. This assessment process is performed by the team along with patent counsel and, as necessary, in consultation with external experts. Factors we consider in evaluating the commercial potential of an invention include: problems solved or unmet needs addressed by the technology, potential applications, market size, market landscape, potential competitors, potential partners, and potential challenges to commercialisation. This report is submitted to your College with a recommendation on what action should be taken e.g.  licensing, spin-out or further diligence.

Technology Marketing

R&I works with Inventors to prepare a non-confidential package of information about the invention. This is then sent to relevant contacts in relevant companies identified through market research, networking activities, and/or prior business transactions. In many cases, inventors also have relevant connections with industry counterparts that can be approached.

Incubation (Technical & Commercial)

Most ideas from research require additional technical and commercial development before a company or an investor has sufficient confidence to enter an agreement. This means Inventors and R&I must work together to generate a portfolio of information including prototypes, validation data, product development roadmaps, market/customer feedback and business plans. External funding is generally required for this purpose and R&I can support seeking this from a range of sources including Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept Fund and initiatives such as the Research Council Follow-on-Funds or Wellcome Trust Translational Funds.


R&I aims to ensure that Inventions are licensed to companies who are committed to taking the technology to market. From the outset we will formulate a licensing strategy most appropriate for the opportunity and seek fair and reasonable commercial terms in return for either an exclusive or non-exclusive licence. We aim to ensure that our licensees have the best possible chance of success in the marketplace. 

Spin-Out Creation

For certain technologies the most appropriate route for exploitation is via the creation of a spin-out company. R&I actively supports this route supporting Inventors and their teams to form partnerships with early-stage investors. These partnerships provide access to expertise in company creation, executive search, incubation funding and early-stage investment (up to £1m).