The evaluation provides encouraging data to suggest that the ICURe pilot has been an effective and economical instrument for accelerating the commercialisation of academic research and producing a range of wider benefits in strengthening links with industry and enhancing the entrepreneurial skills of early career researcher. The programme achieved all of its objectives, and there was a high rate of additionality associated with its. Its benefits (as far as it is possible to measure at this early stage) already exceeded its costs. The key impacts of ICURe include:
- 78 teams benefitted from the first six rounds of ICURe at an approximate cost of £8.9m (of which £6.5m was awarded to 13 teams as Aid for Start Ups seed funding).
- Participation in the programme increased and deepened links between participating academics and industry, accelerating the commercialisation and the technology development process.
- An estimated 24 additional spin-outs were created, with an average age of one year at the time of this evaluation, raising a total of £6.9m in private equity finance. This valued the businesses at a total of £35m. A larger proportion of Aid for Start Ups recipients reported they had secured private equity investment than those spinning-out without public funded support (74 versus 31 percent).
- Spin-outs employed an average of three workers and were generating an average of £86,000 in revenues by January 2017. Spin-outs taken forward with Aid for Start Ups funding grew more rapidly, reporting an average of six FTEs employed and average turnover of £145,000. The total present value of licensing agreements signed as a result of the programme was £8.7m.
- The ICURe programme is estimated to have created £3.94 of economic benefits for every £1 invested to date. The findings should not be treated as definitive as there are a number of factors that may have over or understated the effects of the programme (and there is ambiguity as to which of these factors are likely to dominate).