From research to startup

Making an impact with academic knowledge can be done in many ways, for example by bringing societal relevant research to market. This is a form of knowledge valorisation. 

Are you employed by Utrecht University in an academic position and are you thinking about starting your own business? Then the guide From Researcher to Academic Entrepreneur has been compiled for you. In this guide, we set out the steps you need to follow to start up a business. We also explain what support services are available to you.

Download the complete guide


Step-by-step plan for academic entrepreneurship

Each step towards developing a (new) business brings different to-do’s and challenges. Where are you on the ladder and who is best suited to help you in taking the next step?

The enterprise ladder: step-by-step from research to business. Download the complete guide or read a condensed version below this image.
Overview of all steps — From Research to Academic Entrepreneurship

1. From concept to start-up

You have an idea for a knowledge-intensive company or suspect that your research could be commercially interesting. Who can help you explore this further?


2. Knowledge ownership

Under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, all results from education and research developed by researchers employed by UU are owned by the institution. This does not mean that you, as the researcher, have no say over your own work. It does mean, however, that you must properly organise a number of matters concerning intellectual property if you want to do more than merely publish. 

3. Conflicts of interest and academic integrity

To what extent do you want to be involved in the future enterprise? Are you an entrepreneurial employed researcher or do you dare to take the step towards entrepreneurship?


4. Prepare a good business case

How are you going to market your research or idea, and who's help is needed to do so?

5. The required licences

Under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University is the owner of the Intellectual Property (IP) of all results from education and research developed in the employment of the university. If you want to commercialise this IP, you will need a licence.


6. Founding and financing your business

When forming the business you'll need a number of legal documents, such as shareholders', cooperation and licensing agreements. You register with the Chamber of Commerce. Also, you will look for (external) funding.

7. Facilities

What facilities does the company need? Office space, a laboratory or special equipment? Inform yourself about the possibilities. For example, take a look at:

Who can you contact?

Setting up a business is a process that, regardless of the role you may play in a potential spin-off, will have an impact on your existing work. It is therefore a good idea to involve your supervisor at an early stage. This will make it easier to manage each other’s expectations during the process.

Utrecht University provides a range of support services for academic staff who wish to start their own business:


This is a shortened version of the guide From Researcher to Academic Entrepreneur. For more information about the various support services, required licences and the legal (founding) documents, please refer to the complete guide.

Download the complete guide