Innovation & Enterprise


Association of Medical Research Charities revised approach to intellectual property rights (IPR)

30 October 2018

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) has recently announced a change of policy in relation to its support of commercialisation of intellectual assets arising from research funded by its member charities.

The new AMRC IP guidance can be found on the AMRC website. The Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and British Heart Foundation (BHF) have announced that they’ll continue to use their own guidelines, not adopting the new AMRC policy.

In summary, the overall impact of the change in policy is to increase costs to UCL and UCLB. Also, should there be successful commercialisation of a technology, there will be a decrease in the level of revenue available for distribution to the inventors.

AMRC charity funding, excluding the Wellcome Trust, CRUK and BHF, represented 5% of UCL’s research income in 2017/18. This was distributed approximately:

  • Faculty of Population Health Sciences - £7.7m 
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences - £7.6m
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences - £4.1m
  • Faculty of Life Sciences - £0.9m
  • Institute of Education, Mathematical & Physical Sciences and Engineering Sciences Faculties combined - £0.2m

For further details, please contact UCL Innovation & Enterprise by emailing enterprise@ucl.ac.uk with ‘AMRC funding details’ in the subject line of the email.

Earlier this year, UCL and a number of other universities wrote to the AMRC expressing concern about the change of policy, but this did not affect any change of position by the AMRC. We’re now considering the best approach to the new policy, bearing in mind that many of the AMRC members who are likely to adopt the revised policy represent important funding and support of research at UCL, often with a focus on a particular principal investigator or research team. We strongly desire to continue to support these relationships, while recognising that the process of commercialisation of technologies is, where appropriate, important.

If you have views about the position of the AMRC, please do share these with us by emailing enterprise@ucl.ac.uk, with ‘AMRC intellectual assets policy’ in the subject line of the email.

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