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Impact and innovation

Our research has a wide variety of impacts on society and this is fostered in diverse ways and through many organisations and partnerships: 

Spin-outs and licensing

Research often leads to innovations that may be brought to wider use via spin-out companies and licensing arrangements. This process may be assisted by Queen Mary Innovation (QMI) who help negotiate agreements with industry to commercialise innovations in order to ensure the effective translation of our research for societal and economic impact. Currently over twenty new licensing arrangements are made per year across Queen Mary, with over 70 disclosures of inventions. Spin-outs created with our academics over the past few years have seen remarkable success – these include ApaTech, based on synthetic bone substitutes, sold in 2010 for ~£200m, Retroscreen Virology Ltd (now called hVIVO) based in our bioincubator QMB with market capitalisation in 2013 of ~£160m, and Monoidics, based on software validation, sold to Facebook in 2012.

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

Queen Mary has been awarded the maximum amount of funding under the HEIF scheme, of £2.85m p.a., rising to £3.2m for 2013-2015. This has supported the underlying innovation services provided by QMI and our Business Development team, who provide professional services for the developments described on these pages, as well as entrepreneurships and employability work developed by our Careers [LINK] team, significant Proof of Concept funding for early stage innovations, partial support for our Impact Accelerator programme (see below), support for public engagement with our research and backing for a number of new and innovative projects.

Impact Accelerator

We hold a £750,000 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Impact Accelerator grant, used to extend and embed innovative ways of bringing our EPSRC-funded research results to industry and the wider community, deepen our engagement with the Digital Economy, particularly in London, provide mechanisms for ensuring PhD students and their supervisors are best able to engage with industry and the wider community, and evaluate and adopt existing and new mechanisms for Knowledge Exchange (KE) delivery.    

Tech City 

We also have links to Tech City – an area around nearby Old Street that is home to 400+ digital start-ups. QMUL works with the local start-up community through a number of projects, services and initiatives that allow for knowledge exchange to support businesses, develop student employability, and create meaningful impact from our research and teaching. Learn more about how we work with Tech City companies in London here.

Creativeworks London

We are the lead organisation in Creativeworks London (CWL) a £4m Arts and Humanities Research Council funded collaboration of over 30 organisations (universities, creative industries, museums, libraries and other cultural institutions) involved in the creative industries in London.

This is one of four ‘Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy’ in the UK. CWL runs funded schemes to promote collaboration between the arts and humanities research base in London and London’s creative economy: Creative Vouchers; Creative Entrepreneurs in Residence; and Researchers in Residence. In addition, as a partner in London Creative and Digital Fusion, CWL supports an innovation voucher scheme and a range of business development events for SMEs in the creative and digital economy.


All of our innovation and impact work involves partnerships with other organisations, be they other universities, sectors of government, charities, cultural institutions, businesses and industry. These partnerships may be form via individual innovations and spin-out companies, via programmes such as those described in these pages, or via major research grants such as Doctoral Training Centres. We also have on-going partnerships with larger organisations such as IBM.

 Public engagement and student entrepreneurship

Queen Mary’s commitment to public engagement and student enterprise is reflected in an appointment at Vice-Principal level with responsibility for these areas - Prof. Peter MacOwan - and active support for a wealth of programmes and activities. These include the Centre for Public Engagement, set up in 2012 as part of a RCUK Catalyst award, which works to embed and sustain public engagement within Queen Mary.


 ImpactQM was a unique £2.9 million EPSRC-funded project, designed and hosted by Queen Mary, and delivered over 2009-2013. The aim of the project was to raise a new generation of science and engineering professional – one who is equally at home in both academia and in industry – as well as kick-start new collaborations. Researchers struck up successful partnerships with industry partners, and over 70PhD students received mentoring and training to help them locate fully-funded internship opportunities.

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