UCL Computer Science


CS Innovation and Entrepreneurship

UCL Computer Science is creating a centripetal force through new ventures, attracting academics, students and partners into the inspiration-ideation-impact journey of deep-tech application and commercialisation.

UCL Computer Science is proud to launch our inaugural CS I/O Lab. CS I/O Lab is the first idea-to-opportunity innovation programme that comprises a series of events, aimed at delivering bespoke support to entrepreneurial researchers and creating a cohort of academics with shared interest in innovation, thus maximising the economic and societal impact of the world-class research taking place within UCL Computer Science.

Impact Series – March 2021

The Impact Series of the programme draws both resources of training sessions from UCL Innovation and Enterprise and panel sessions chaired by specialist experts with entrepreneurial academics in CS to share their stories on the innovation journey. This series of events welcomes all CS academic staff and doctoral students, via registration links in the table below.

DateHostEventDescriptionLinkTarget Audience
1 MarchUCL I&E

SPERO 1: Discover your entrepreneurial mindset

This one-day workshop will help you develop your entrepreneurial thinking and start to recognise and use your entrepreneurial skills. By the end of the workshop you’ll be better able to develop ideas that create value and make a difference to others. You’ll also be able to identify stakeholders who can help you move an idea forward and set goals to progress your enterprising activity.Further information

UCL PhD students

11 - 12 MarchUCL I&E

SPERO 2: Learn how to turn an idea into an enterprise

This two-day workshop delves deeper into business language and entrepreneurial thinking. You’ll learn about key concepts for early-stage enterprise creation, including ideation, prototyping, testing, building networks, sales, marketing and raising finance.Further information

UCL PhD students

16 MarchUCL I&E

Making your way in innovation and enterprise at UCL

We’ll present the big picture for innovation and enterprise, highlight the UCL support system and share case studies from the arts, science, technology and social sciences. You’ll learn what to consider in undertaking activities such as consulting, commercialisation, or partnerships. The session also touches on knowledge exchange (KE) funding, intellectual property (IP), and ethical concerns.Further information

UCL Staff

17 MarchCSTo publish or not to publish, that is the questionHosted by Marina Santilli (associate director UCL Business), we will hear from Prof Sri Subramanian (UCL Computer Science) and IP lawyer Paul Maclennan (Anderson Law) discussing the above: reflecting on the publishing impact of patent applications; the value of undisclosed know-how; and the options for protecting research software publications using closed source licensing, all whilst upholding the researcher’s obligations to disseminate publicly-funded research outputs.Watch the session recordingCS Staff and PhD students
24 MarchCS

How else can you create impact?

In this session we bring together a panel who have loads of experience in helping you to think through your impact strategy and put it into words. The purpose is to tell what is involved and introduce you to some people at UCL who can help you craft a convincing narrative. Chaired by Jeff Skinner, Executive Director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at London Business School. Panellists:  Prof Anthony Steed (Deputy Head of Department, UCL CS), Björn Christianson (Head of Business Development at UCL Consultants) and Ann Thorpe (Senior Partnerships Manager at UCL Innovation and Enterprise).Watch the session recording

CS Staff and PhD students

25 - 26 MarchUCL I&E

SPERO 3: Build your enterprise - management and negotiation skills

This two-day workshop is for doctoral students who are considering starting a business but are unsure how to get started. This workshop will help you significantly improve your business knowledge and the professional skills needed to start a business. Day one focuses on company administration and financial planning for intellectual property (IP)-rich startups. Day two explores how to have conversations with investors, suppliers and other stakeholders through role-play exercises.Further information

UCL PhD students

31 MarchCS

Come and meet future unicorn spinouts from CS

Panel discussion chaired by David Grimm, investment director from UCL Technology Fund. You will hear from academics who have successfully founded or joined university spin-outs on the challenges and the benefits of working within the start-up ecosystem. Prof Emine Yilmaz, Prof Jun Wang and Dr Toth have all been involved in establishing UCL CS spin-outs in the last few years and are able to give deep insight into what it takes.Watch the session recording

CS Staff and PhD students

14 AprilCSAcademics' personas in the innovation journeyPanel discussion chaired by Bruce Lynn, Entrepreneur in Residence in CMIC. Bruce uses a fantastic analogy of roles in the film industry (producer, director and the star-KOL) to map the personas of entrepreneurial academics and inspire people to think about the roles they should (or not) play when thinking about commercialising their research. We are fortunate to have invited experienced entrepreneurial academics in CS to share their distinctive personas played in their respective innovation journey in creating spinouts or licensing IP. Panellists: Prof Geoff Parker (Professor of Healthcare Engineering, Imaging and Enterprise based in CMIC) and Prof David Barber (Professor of Machine Learning, Director of UCL Centre for Artificial Intelligence).Watch the session recordingCS Staff and PhD students
TBCUCL I&EDisclosing and managing conflicts of interest at UCL: Online training

UCL’s mandatory training supports the university’s Disclosure of Conflict and Declaration of Interest Policy.

This training covers:
what a conflict of interest is and how to recognise one; who UCL’s policy applies to, and related responsibilities; what to do in the event of a conflict of interest; what to do if an undisclosed conflict of interest is discovered; how to manage conflicts of interest; how to make an annual declaration of external interests (if relevant to your role).

Further informationUCL Staff and doctoral students
Innovation Series (Part 1 of 8-week programme) April – May 2021

We want to spur a revolution in the way universities commercialise their technologies and innovations. We will work together in this 8-week program to learn and bring your commercial projects to life. 

We don't expect everyone to have had experience in commercialisation through licensing deals and spinout companies before. We love academics who are getting started, and we’re trying to bring together those who have brilliant ideas and want to get started on their innovation journey at UCL.  

Let us know what you’re made of, tell us why you want to be in the program, and we’ll help you get there through the program. By taking part in the inaugural edition of CS I/O Lab, we hope to catalyse innovation in the UCL CS department, so get ready for an exciting program! 

Registration is currently open only for UCL computer science academics, via the Eventbrite link.

19 AprilCommercialising Research: Why should I care?Led by Marina Santilli and Nicholas Yiu of UCLB, we kick off the Innovation series with inspirational stories of deriving commercial impact from academic research. We will then explain why this programme is of relevance to all academics and lay out the various paths available to you.
22 AprilSpeed Dating & Drinks 

Meet with your fellow colleagues on the programme and the I/O labs team to explore your research areas and collaboration opportunities. Afterwards we’re providing cocktails delivered to you to enjoy together.

28 AprilWhat’s the problem?Lead by David Grimm of UCL Tech Fund, learn the starting step in how businesses are built and how to identify a business opportunity.
5 MayHow big is the problem? Lead by David Grimm of UCL Tech Fund, this session aims to equip you with the tools needed to identify how big the problem is by speaking to customers and sizing the market.
12 MayWhat’s the solution?Lead by David Grimm of UCL Tech Fund, learn how to convert the learnings gained from identifying a problem in a strong market into a powerful technical solution.


Entrepreneurship Series (Part 2 of 8-week Programme) May – June 2021

Have an invention and a technology with commercial potential but not sure what to do next? We are here to help to guide you through the process. After one-to-one meetings with individual participants, we will help identify resources from UCL Business, UCL Tech Fund, and UCL Innovation & Enterprise to provide you with commercialisation routes you can take for your CS innovation.

Registration is currently open only for UCL computer science academics, via the Eventbrite link.

19 MayFrom Research to Business - Commercialisation pathways with UCLLead by Marina Santilli of UCLB and David Grimm of UCL Tech Fund, this session will help you learn the different routes to build a relationship with UCL and your idea from patenting and licenses to investment.
26 MayMeet your MBA Match - Validating the Business OpportunityIn partnership with one of London’s leading business schools, this session will match you with MBA students to explore the commercial opportunity further and get external validation for your idea.
7 JuneHow to build a practical Research-to-Product StrategyLead by Post Urban Ventures, building on the learnings so far, this session will help you plan a strategy for applying your research to a product ready for customers to use.
16 JunePresentation DayThe Presentation Day gives participants a chance to showcase their outputs from the programme to their colleagues and wider members of the CS department. It also gives participants an opportunity to find team members or collaborators for their ideas going forward.
Output Series – September 2021

The output series provides the perfect opportunity to showcase the outcome from the 8-week programme, with the academics understanding which pathway to take for research commercialisation, and demonstrate the readiness of a business plan in the form of a Dragon's Den or investor's pitch. There are prizes for the winners and opportunities to secure early stage funding for the ideas of technology solution.

Past Events 

Impact through Venture – 2 Day Bootcamp 17 – 18 September 2020

The bootcamp combined workshops by leading experts in the field with panel discussions and fire side chats from those in CS currently on the innovation and entrepreneurship journey.

Participants had the opportunity to hear about barriers and challenges we have conquered in the department and the support and opportunities we would provide. There were also discussions around how to properly license IP from UCL to a spinout company and how UCLB and the UCL Tech Fund support this journey, as well as insightful training sessions from Louis Dorard, Devin Hunt and Richard Anson on “Modelling your AI business idea”, “Customer Development – how to test your ideas” and “The Lean Start-up Method – Do’s and Don’ts”.


Partner logos left to right:UCL Innovation and Enterprise, UCL Business, UCL Tech Fund London Business School, Capital Enterprise, Post Urban Ventures