Baroness Thatcher and science and entrepreneurship
08 April 2013
Baroness Thatcher worked as a chemist after graduating.
Professor Graham Richards, former Head of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and now Professor Emeritus, invited Lady Thatcher to the launch of his book Spin-outs: Creating Businesses from University Intellectual Property in 2009.
When Baroness Thatcher arrived at Burlington House she was presented by the RSC with a certificate headed Fe, recalling her days as The Iron Lady.
Professor Richards, who also served on the RSC Council, said today:
"Margaret Thatcher transformed the relations between universities and industry leading to the creation of numerous now successful British companies.
"In the early 1980s she introduced venture capital to the UK by providing tax incentives for investment in start-up companies.
"Even more profoundly in 1987 she took away the monopoly ownership of university intellectual property from the BTG company and gave it to the universities providing that they created mechanisms for the exploitation of this IP.
"Thus began serious technology transfer and the founding of many companies.
"To take as a single example, the Oxford University Chemistry Department has since 1988 created some 15 companies, six of which have had initial public offerings (IPOs) and provided more than £100 million to the central University.
"It is hard to believe that this change would have been possible without a Prime Minister with scientific understanding and in particular as a chemist."
The RSC presented Baroness Thatcher with a certificate to mark her days as the The Iron Lady on a visit to Burlington House in 2009
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