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.

In 2020 UCL Computer Science proudly launched the 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.

Forthcoming Events 2021-2022

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Series (8-week Programme) April-June 2022

Programme overview

An 8-week programme open to all Computer Science academics to explore the potential for commercialising their research outputs. Although focussed on assessing suitability for spinout creation, the programme also introduces other pathways for commercial impact such as licensing.

The sessions are intended to be interactive and will mix presentations from UCLB and UCL Tech Fund with small group discussion.

Participants will get a chance to share their ideas (including with selected guest MBA students in Week 6) whilst challenging themselves and each other in a friendly environment to define a viable market opportunity for their innovation.

No obligation to take forward as a commercialisation project at the end! The programme is not intended for students unless the student is exploring the commercialisation of academic (UCL-owned) research.

Register for 8-week programme

Programme Sessions

1. Commercialising Research: Why should I care? 4pm - 5pm Wednesday 6 April 2022 

2. Speed Dating & Drinks Hosted at AI Center 4pm - 6pm Wednesday 27 April 2022 

3. What’s the Problem? 4pm -5pm Wednesday 4 May 2022 

4. How big is the Problem? 4pm - 5pm Wednesday 11 May 2022 

5. What’s the Solution? 4pm - 5pm Wednesday 18 May 2022 

6. Meet your MBA Match - Validating the Business Opportunity 4pm - 5pm Wednesday 25 May 2022 

7. From Research to Business - Commercialisation pathways with UCL 4pm - 5pm Wednesday 15 June 2022 

8. How to build a practical Research-to-Product Strategy 4pm - 5pm Wednesday 22 June 2022 

9. Presentation Day 4pm - 5pm Wednesday 29 June 2022

Previous Events 2021-2022 

Beyond Ideation (Half-day Bootcamp) 29 September 2021

This half day workshop is open to everyone at the UCL Computer Science Department who is interested in learning more about what it takes to commercialise a research idea.
The workshop is part of a series of year round events that serve as an introduction to the world of startups and spin-outs and is supported by the UCL Technology Fund and Post Urban Ventures.
Whether you've previously participated in the 8-week programme or have recently joined UCL and are contemplating commercialisation, all are welcome to register and join this workshop which will have insights that will hopefully be informative and inspirational for all.

The schedule of the event:

Lunch Break (12pm - 1pm)

Exploring the Market: Exploring the Market & Customer Development (1pm - 2pm presented by Lotus Qi from PUV)
Technology Readiness Level: Realistic timescale for building out your technology and moving from MVP to PMF (2pm - 3pm Interview with Ricard Pardell from PUV)
Coffee Break 3pm - 3:30pm

How to build a strong deck & how to present: Customers & Investors (3:30pm - 4:30pm presented by Nick Slater from PUV)
Investment Landscape: Funding routes and should you seek investment? (4:30 - 5:30pm presented by David Grimm from UCL Tech Fund)  

Best Practice in Intellectual Property Management - 9 November 2021

Best Practice in Intellectual Property Management - UCL CS Webinar Training for Academics and Researchers

Topic: Best Practices in Intellectual Property Management

  • Introduction to IP Management Session – Steve Hailes/Tim Bodley-Scott
  • IP and CoI policies at UCL – I&E (Krista Mcmillan)
  • IP risk assessment forms in Research Grants – Research Contracts (Yanni Baveas)
  • Commercialising IP – UCLB (Marina Santilli/Weng Sie Wong)
  • Panel discussion – covering issues raised above and other relevant topics e.g. IP protocol for student projects (Steve Hailes/Gabe Bristow/Anthony Hunter/Mariana Obrist)

Date: Nov 9, 2021 02:54 PM London

Training Recording on Zoom

More information on the training about IP and conflict of interest and how to access it can be found via the links below:

Senior UCL staff members must submit an annual declaration of interests each year through the ‘Manage Conflicts and Declare Interests’ system.

Visit the Senior UCL staff: submit your annual declaration of interests page  on the Innovation & Enterprise website for further information. 

Impact Series November - December 2021

Fireside chat with Daniel Hulme, CEO Satalia, Chief AI Officer at WPP

16:00 -17:00 on 8th December 2021, at UCL AI Centre, 90 High Holborn 

UCL Computer Science alumnus and Entrepreneur in Residence Daniel Hulme comes to the AI Centre to share the highs and lows of his experience in founding UCL spinout company ‘NP Complete Ltd’, later rebranded to Satalia and recently acquired by WPP, the world’s largest advertising company. Daniel will be in conversation with Marina Santilli, associate director at UCL Business, who has been alongside the whole 14 year journey.

Output Series (Showcase Bootcamp) January 2022


Previous Events 2020-2021 

Impact Series – March 2021

The Impact Series of the programme included panel sessions chaired by specialist experts with entrepreneurial academics in CS to share their stories on the innovation journey. This series of events welcomed all CS academic staff and doctoral students.”

DateHostEventDescriptionLinkTarget Audience
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

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
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.  

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