Queen’s University Tops UK Entrepreneurial Impact Ranking For Second Year Running

Peter Donnelly, Editor

The honour was awarded to Queen’s University by Octopus Ventures, which is a leading European Venture Capital Firm. Investing in the youth of today was never more important.

The 2020 award is the second year running which Queen’s University has been named as the number one university in the United Kingdom for entrepreneurial impact and activity in Octopus Ventures’ annual assessment report.

Octopus Ventures, which are part of the Octopus Group, describe their annual Report as being an essential measurement and assessment of Universitiesencouragement of entrepreneurial development and encouragement, which has a direct bearing on the UK’s potential reach in the global economy.
London-based Octopus Ventures
bestowed the honour on Queen’s University, Belfast in both 2019 and 2020. The company has offices across Europe and in New York in the United States.
The Report’s mission statement states that “the Entrepreneurial Impact Ranking, revealing universities’ success at turning academic achievements into thriving companies.”

The Report noted that the “rigorous customer discovery” approach adopted by Queen’s had allowed both the quality of new commercial initiatives to steadily grow. Despite the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, resulting in the halting of graduate business and recruitment events on campus the customer focus was key to the success of Queen’s in this most recent analysis.
The Report observed that the interest of investors in “deep tech companies continues to grow, and spinout companies offer both economic and societal benefits, such as job creation.”
The emphasis placed upon the “customer discovery” approach, the Report stressed, allowed commercial leadership to have confidence in bridging “the gap between risk and reward, which many early stage spinouts find a challenge when going to market for commercial hires.”
The Report which published its inaugural edition last year saw similar results from their 2019 release. Following behind Queen’s, in second place, was the University of Cambridge, followed by Cardiff University, the Queen Mary University of London and the University of Dundee taking fifth place.
Octopus Ventures partner, Simon King, emphasised that Universities remained “foundational to the companies we invest in.” He continued, “We believe there remains further opportunity to create world-leading spinout companies in the UK. Our goal with this report is to identify which institutions create investor-ready spinouts and to share the reasons why they are successful for the benefit of all.
Queen’s entrepreneurial success has been attributed to its participation in the Government’s Innovate UK programme – Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe).
The programme provides researchers in academic institutions with the opportunity to realise the commercial potential of their work alongside its contribution to other disciplines such as science. Queen’s University has also long been recognised and distinguished as a central research hub of research in fields such as science and medicine. As the Coronavirus gripped the UK and the rest of the world, the University joined the global research endeavour to investigate the virus and discover the potential treatments to combat its deadly effects.

Today Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders

The investing in the youth of today philosophy of many elder entrepreneurial figures remains as, if not more, important, as it was when the global economy, as we know it today, was establishing itself.
Building on that well grounded and proven business philosophy and ethic, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, credited as lifting the United States out of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, was once quoted as saying, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build youth for the future.”
The CEO of QUBIS, Brian McCaul, the commercialisation division of Queen’s University said,
“We are delighted that Queen’s has achieved the top position for the second year running. The fact that this measures spinout activity and investor returns over 10 years underlines Queen’s continued ability to effectively and efficiently translate research innovations into commercial success. We can be truly proud of our significant contribution to regional economic development, demonstrated perhaps most clearly in Northern Ireland’s flourishing life sciences sector, where many of our spinouts have performed well whilst helping in the fight against Covid–19.”

Queen’s University has a high standard to maintain but past performance is typically the best indicator of future performance, and no doubt many more such accolades will come the University’s way in the months and years ahead.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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