Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship:
Lancaster University offers many opportunities for the 12,000 students on campus to explore their interests in innovation and entrepreneurship. Student innovation at Lancaster University starts with engaged learning and research, the core of this is the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy. Situated on campus they conduct teaching and research relating to fields of entrepreneurship and strategic management research, education and business support. Following on from this, the teachings of entrepreneurship and innovation do not stop there with courses stretching across all departments. Like the ‘Design, Innovation and 3-D Thinking’ offered to first-year Engineering students, to the ‘Innovation in the Biosciences’ module on offer for third-year Biology students. The goal of these courses is to push students to practice innovative skills outside of their typical academic courses.
Also available is mentorship and support through the Lancaster University Enterprise Centre, with their focus being ‘to create students who are entrepreneurial leaders’ this centre is having immense success in inspiring students to get involved in entrepreneurship, design and innovation. One of their most visible projects being the creation of their newly established ‘Work in Progress’ space at the heart of campus, yet another opportunity for advice to be accessible for students seeking support regarding innovation and enterprise. It will be a collaborative space for students with entrepreneurial projects to develop their ideas and work to make them a reality while being able to collaborate and interact with other students working towards similar goals.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are also captured in the competitions and challenges that the University is involved in from Design Thinking Sprints held on campus to competitions held nationally like Micro-Tyco where students have a month to grow their £1 ‘seed capital’ into as much money as possible. Competitions like these push students to open their minds to find new solutions.
Extracurricular societies also have a large presence on the campus and motivate students to change the world through their ideas, like the Enactus Society where ideas and perspectives on global social and environmental problems are shared and acted upon. In addition to the Entrepreneurs Society and TEDx Society, Social Venture and Consulting Society. These work hand in hand to create an innovative atmosphere, in addition to our student’s studies.
Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship:
Lancaster University places a great deal of emphasis on the real-world impact of its research. As such, university administration encourage faculty members to develop their research further and encourages them to innovate in new areas. However, as of 2018, Lancaster’s main focus for its research impact is the publication of faculty members papers in renowned journals, rather than in creating entrepreneurial ventures of their own following their research. Lancaster currently lacks incentives and reward schemes for faculty members to take a leap with their ideas and create their own enterprises, but the few that are made work closely with the university to maintain they remain at the forefront of their fields, such as Quantum Base Ltd, who are located in the InfoLab21 space on campus.
Actively supporting the university technology transfer function:
IP Support services provide Lancaster's technology transfer function offering NDAs, Patents and Licensing of IP through the University. Lancaster University has created many spin-out companies as a result of IP that has been generated by academics within the institution, which you can see here. As of June 2017, there are 27 spin-out companies affiliated with Lancaster University. Lancaster University holds equity in all of its spin-outs through Lancaster University Business Enterprises Ltd.
Lancaster University Consulting Services (LUCS) have undergone a recent renovation, providing services for all academics to assist them in providing private consultancy services. LUCS offers liability and indemnity insurance for academics who choose to consult along with additional assistance like the pricing of consulting services and the use of university facilities.
Facilitating university-industry collaboration:
Lancaster University has several business and mentoring networks that facilitate university-industry collaboration. The Career Mentoring Programme and the Employer Connect Programme, for example, match students to local professionals to get insights into what they do to help students pursue their career goals. Furthermore, Lancaster University has currently 58 people acting as Entrepreneurs in Residence who can give valuable insights into business.
InfoLab21 is Lancaster University's research, development and business centre in Information and Communication Technologies. It collaborates with the United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI), which helps businesses grow and locate in the UK.InfoLab21 provides opportunities for networking and hot desking to meet academics and other businesses for possible collaborations.
cTAP is a new £4 million development that consists of three stories of advanced labs and offices that are exclusively available for businesses to use. 3 full-time academic roles exist within the cTAP administration who are there to assist businesses and companies to use the highly advanced laboratory equipment. They are also there to help understand the exact assistance that a business may require for example spectroscopy, chromatography and thermal testing.
In Lancaster, there are several business office spaces available to rent, for example at the White Cross Business Park. However, the majority does not collaborate with the university which would be very beneficial for students who want to start their own businesses.
The Storey is a centre for creative industries that offers engaging events like business conferences, seminars and networking events. The building aims to be a place that inspires forward thinking. At the moment, their learning spaces are specific for graduates and PhD students.
In partnership with Santander Universities, the Lancaster University Enterprise Team offers funding and support for passionate and creative students who want to develop their ideas.
Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts:
The Health Innovation Campus (HIC) at Lancaster University is currently in the making and the first phase is due to open in 2019. It will be a place to research and develop innovative solutions while working closely together with the government and policy-makers. The HIC will contribute to the local and national community by supporting job creation and the growth of local businesses, as well as aiming to introduce changes in the health and care systems and the community.