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Women in Science

We talked to four women who had started their own spin-off companies, as a result of the research they had conducted at Oxford, or had conducted research with industry partners. We asked them to tell us about how they went about starting a spin-off company, what work it required and what support they had.

If you are interested in starting a spin-off company, finding ways to collaborate with industry partners, or develop commercial aspects of your research then you should contact Oxford University Innovation (OUI) at the earliest opportunity.

What is a spin-off Company?

Spin-off (sometimes referred to as ‘spin-out’) companies can take many forms. Part of the development is working out what form best suits the product or venture the entrepreneur is looking to develop.

Click for Kylie's interviewKylie describes how the University can help and what benefits it can get from supporting the development of spin-off companies.

The benefits and costs of developing a spin-off company

Developing a spin-off company brought exciting new opportunities and possibilities for the women we spoke to. This included having an impact on their field beyond the usual routes of papers and conferences, as well as opening up avenues for future research projects they may not have previously considered. However, starting a spin-off company is not always easy. It involved a lot of hard work and often took many years.

Click for Alison's interviewDeveloping a spin-off company allowed Alison to go beyond her academic interests.


Click for Kylie's interviewKylie says that she previously had purely academic research interests, but it has been exciting and enjoyable working with technology transfer to industry.


Click for Angela's interview

Spin-offs offer the opportunity to translate research into patient benefit, which Angela is immensely proud to have achieved.


Click for Kylie's interviewKylie explains that spin-offs are hard work, but provide value beyond writing papers.


Click for Angela's interviewAngela reflects that building up a spin-off company can take several years.


Click for Alison's interviewAlison explains that it takes some years and several iterations to match a need from the end user with a product under development.

Becoming an entrepreneur

Starting a new spin-off company involved developing new skills and learning new ways of working. As well as formal skills, personal characteristics may need to adapt to the new challenges they faced. A mentor who was also familiar with the challenges of starting a new company could be particularly helpful.


Click for Amy's interviewAmy found that being involved with a spin-off involved learning new skills and attending formal training.


Click for Amy's interviewAmy describes how being consistent, resilient, and flexible have helped when building a spin-off company.


Click for Kylie's interviewKylie talks about some of the training she has attended that has helped her manage relations with industrial collaborators and develop a spin-off company.


Click for Kylie's interviewKylie explains some of the different skills she has needed to collaborate with industry.


Click for Amy's interviewHaving a great mentor has been very helpful for Amy as she has developed as an entrepreneur.


Collaborating with industry

Some of the women we spoke to had worked with industry partners on research projects and ideas, or as providers of funding for studentships or fellowships.

Click for Hazel's interviewHazel explains why it can be helpful and enjoyable to have links and collaborate with industry and to help solve problems that ‘people want solved’.


Click for Kylie's interviewKylie describes how collaborating with industry has added value to her research interests.


Click for Hazel's interviewHazel has found there is less stability in industry than there was, which means she must ensure she maintains relationships to keep the collaborations working.

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