4 - Services, advice and consultancy

4.1 - Creating collaborative communities (Business Clubs)


The proposal is to create stable collaborative working environments (communities), with privileged access to University resources and those of member companies.

With the creation of these communities, Universities can attract private initiatives in terms of financing and decision-making about areas of investigation and development, whilst Companies can gain privileged access to the human and material resources of the Universities.


The models of support centres for technological innovation and knowledge transfer are many and varied. The Business Clubs have been able to create collaborative communities which minimize bureaucracy, improve communication between the parties involved, limit potential for abuse between Companies and Universities and act as collectors of knowledge. There are many successful examples and listed below are some of the most notable:

Oxford Innovation Society

Oxford University’s Oxford Innovation Society (For more information about ISIS Innovation, see recommendations 4.7 and 5.2) is one such community. This forum of Open Innovation brings together researchers, inventers, spinouts, knowledge transfer professionals, local businesses, venture capital groups, and a number of multinationals with a strong tradition of Innovation. After more than 20 years of experience, the Oxford Innovation Society provides the business sector with privileged access to the scientific advances which are made at Oxford University.

 Benefits obtained by participating companies include:

  1. Notification of new items of intellectual property generated at the University, thirty days in advance.
  2. Networking opportunities at specially organised Oxford Innovation Society dinners. These take place 3 times a year and are held in the Oxford Colleges.
  3. Presentations of personalised research and seminars to create technological route maps and strategic plans.
  4. Opportunities to contribute via articles in ISIS and University seminars.
  5. Personalised access to the intellectual property of ISIS.

 The members develop a close working relationship with ISIS Innovation. The ISIS Project Managers are particularly well placed to provide access to the academic world and the research projects of each of the companies involved in the community. Membership costs £6,800 per year.

Business Club del Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie (KIT)

This is an exclusive communication platform linking researchers, investors and industry. It was created as a pioneering initiative in Germany in 2009, with the intention of offering its members personalised service through the Innovation department of the University.

Members have the following benefits:

  1. Special access to the institutions and disciplines of the KIT.
  2. Full use of the KIT’s facilities and services, and all the advantages they offer.
  3. Establishing personal relationships with key figures from the institutions.

The Business Club aims at offering a strategic and business oriented vision of the KIT’s activities whilst providing rapid access to its expertise. Cost of membership is €8,000 per year for each company.

Implementation process

Agents necessary for implementation

This recommendation can be implemented by a joint collaboration with the University.

View explanatory caption


  1. Interview with staff from the Innovation Growth Team; Oxford County Council y Regional Liaison Office de la Universidad de Oxford.
  2. http://www.kit.edu/english/ - Karlsruher Institute für Technologie.
  3. http://www.isis-innovation.com/about/ois.html - ISIS Innovation, Oxford Innovation Society.