How do we protect ourselves against future pandemics? In what ways can artificial intelligence help reduce pressure on the healthcare system? And what can we do to maintain the accessibility and affordability of healthcare? How can we innovatively design online education? Researchers at Utrecht University (UU) and UMC Utrecht (UMCU) address social issues like this every day and come up with solutions to tackle them.
We want these new scientific insights to benefit society. This is also known as valorisation, and constitutes one of our core tasks as a university/university medical centre.
In some cases, scientific research results in a product that we want to bring to market so that society can benefit from the invention. This often requires assistance from an existing commercial party. To manage this optimally, all knowledge institutions in the Netherlands have Knowledge Transfer Offices.
Utrecht Holdings serves as the Knowledge Transfer Office for UU and UMCU. Established in 1998, Utrecht Holdings brings innovations to market that result from scientific research conducted by employees working at UU and/or UMCU. Utrecht Holdings ensures that the inventions created by researchers at UMCU and UU have an impact on society. By arranging different aspects including patent applications and licences, and helping to set up new spin-offs, the inventions are given the necessary support moving forward. The intellectual property of UMCU and UU is therefore safeguarded and any proceeds flow back to both institutions and to Utrecht Holdings itself for further investment in innovation and impact, and research and education, for example.
In the start-up phase, Utrecht Holdings often acts as (co-)shareholder of these spin-offs, which are mainly active in the fields of biotechnology, medical technology, education and ICT. In time, Utrecht Holdings ultimately aims to exit these shareholdings by selling its shares in the company. By then, the invention will either have been successfully launched on the market and/or Utrecht Holdings’ support will no longer be needed after other parties take over. Utrecht Holdings then sees to it that any money earned from these activities is used for UU and UMCU tasks including innovation and impact, and research and education.
Utrecht Holdings plays a key role in achieving the ambitions of UU and UMCU, making knowledge available to society and contributing towards solving pressing social issues. UU and UMCU consciously join forces in this respect, also cooperating closely in conducting multidisciplinary research.