One avenue of delivering impact from your research is to commercialise it, for instance through spin-out companies or licensing. However, the concept of commercialising social science research might seem alien to many, and examples of commercialisation in the social sciences are relatively rare.

In a 2016 ESRC-commissioned report exploring knowledge exchange in the social sciences, it was found that fewer than 1 in 50 respondents in the social sciences had ever commercialised their work via patents, licensing or spin-outs.

This section of the impact toolkit will provide insights into what scaling up impact through commercialisation might look like, and suggestions of further support.


With thanks to the following contributors for their input to this guide:

  • Dr Shanta Aphale-Coles, Business Engagement Manager, University of Manchester
  • David Coombe, Director of LSE Research and Innovation
  • Bruce Etherington, Impact Manager, Research and Innovation Services, Cardiff University
  • Paul Harrod, CEO, Evidence to Impact
  • Dr Mark Mann, Senior Licensing and Ventures Manager, Oxford University Innovation
  • Gabriella Matouskova, Business Delivery Manager, CU Social Enterprise CIC, Coventry
  • Gareth Mayhead, Commercialisation and Consultancy Manager, Bangor University
  • Social Enterprise UK