Chris van der Kuyl critical of universities over research

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ENTREPRENEURIAL Exchange chairman Chris van der Kuyl has accused Scotland’s universities of “inconsistencies” in commercialising their research.

Van der Kuyl, a dotcom pioneer best known for founding computer games developer VIS Entertainment in 1996, said universities needed to become quicker at taking their ideas to market.

Speaking at the first Interface awards in Edinburgh, van der Kuyl said: “University commercialisation offices are variable and that’s not acceptable. They all have to be blunt and get innovative work to market quickly.

“Anything that gets in the way of getting ideas to market quickly needs to be destroyed.”

He added: “It’s not enough to just have an idea. No-one ever became rich just having an idea. You need to execute that idea in order to make money.

“Some universities do it very well – like Informatics Ventures at Edinburgh University and life sciences at Dundee University. But there is not enough consistency across the sector.”

But van der Kuyl stopped short of calling for one knowledge transfer office to cover all universities, a proposal made by finance secretary John Swinney.

“I wouldn’t be prescriptive,” said van der Kuyl. “I don’t think we need a single knowledge transfer office telling universities what to do. But we do need a template that universities can implement in their own areas to raise the standards across the board.”

Siobhán Jordan, director of Interface, the body that helps business access university expertise, defended the higher education sector.

Jordan said: “Partnerships between academia and businesses are proving to be increasingly lucrative for both parties and are key to bringing innovative ideas to market.”