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Posted on behalf of Dr Matt Perkins, CEO, Oxford University Innovation

During these uncertain times as everyone adjusts to the coronavirus situation, I’d like to you know that OUI is still available, working to support and offer services to you, the University community of students, researchers and support staff.

Everyone will be adapting to new working practices and new ways of communicating without face to face interaction. Fortunately for us, many of our patenting, licensing and contract processes are already conducted online or by phone.

All of our OUI staff are working from home, and we are all contactable via phone and email. We’re using various other online platforms for meetings, so just let us know what you prefer, and our incubator is live streaming their training sessions. More resources like this will become available as we adapt to new ways of working remotely.

Many university departments host regular OUI hotdesks, and in place of these OUI staff will be available for virtual “drop in” appointments. All staff, students and researchers are welcome to use these resources and no question is too small or project too early! Details about this are being send to departments that host hotdesks.

There are various ways in which OUI has already been working with researchers to support and facilitate projects related to COVID-19. The question of how to get these out to the community to help save lives quickly in the short term whilst preserving an appropriate commercial position for the medium to long term is now under review.  OUI is working with Research Services to put together some principles on how we should address this in our licensing terms and we would welcome any suggestions from you for consideration. Example of projects that OUI are involved with include:

  • Prof Sarah Gilbert’s vaccine programme - where we have protected the IP and are supporting discussions with potential commercial partners to ensure the vaccine can progress as quickly as possible through preclinical and clinical testing, can be produced at the scale needed for global supply, and can be delivered to all parts of the world affected by coronavirus.
  • Expedited approval by the UCSF (an OUI run translational fund) of a new drug discovery programme aimed at coronavirus.
  • Working with Professors Cui and Huang to support a new rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19 co-developed by the IBME and OSCAR, where OUI is supporting the commercialisation via a suitable licensing route.
  • Working with academics from the departments of Engineering and Primary Care, plus commercial partners, to implement remote blood pressure monitoring for pregnant women and avoid unnecessary potential exposure to coronavirus.
  • OUI also runs the University Challenge Seed Fund (“UCSF”) a translational fund, and projects submitted that are COVID-19 related will be fast-tracked. It is open to all Divisions and Departments who wish to apply for translational funding. For advice please contact your department’s OUI Licensing and Venture Manager in the first instance. For any follow up questions please contact either Jaz Jandor or Adam Workman.

For further information on COVID-19 related funding calls for researchers and companies see:

In the meantime, everyone at OUI hopes that you, your colleagues and families are well and stay healthy.