Cocoon Networks, alongside the University of Manchester, University of Sussex, University of Oxford, University of Sheffield and other business partners and investors, is joining the London School of Economics and Political Science's 'ASPECT' partnership (‘A social sciences platform for entrepreneurship, commercialisation and transformation’).
ASPECT is a a pioneering collaboration between leading universities and businesses to develop the commercial potential of social sciences. While the creation of commercial spin-out companies based on STEM research is well established, social sciences have traditionally lagged behind in this area, with research more commonly applied to policy makers, rather than the private sector. ASPECT seeks to re-address this balance.
Cocoon Networks services a business partner role in this LSE-led partnership, which has been set up to promote entrepreneurship based on social-science research, and has been awarded five million pounds by Research England.
Cocoon Networks officially signed the MoU on ASPECT during the 3rd China-UK Hi! Technology Festival on June 12th, during which LSE's Research and Commercialisation Manager Chris Cramphorn provided a detailed introduction of ASPECT to the Sino-British festival audience. As part of the partnership agreement, Cocoon Networks and LSE will carry out commercialisation activities for social science research.
John Zai, the founder and CEO of Cocoon Networks said:
"Cocoon Networks is delighted to support the ASPECT project in the role of a business advisor, particularly through sharing our insights and expertise of the Chinese market and easing the access to China for social science entrepreneurs. We strongly believe in the great benefit of the social sciences to business"
Commenting on the establishment and funding of ASPECT, LSE Pro-Director for Research, Professor Julia Black, said:
“Although social science research has had enormous positive impacts on society and policy making, its potential to contribute to businesses has not been fully realised. Now more than ever, we need to harness the insights from the social sciences so they can better contribute to the wider economy and productivity, and achieve social benefits”
Professor Yu Xiong, Chief Strategy Director of Cocoon Networks, also shared his enthusiasm:
“We hope to make better use of social science knowledge for the greater good of society. At Cocoon Networks, we hope to support more social science entrepreneurs in achieving their goals via this interesting project.”
A key part of ASPECT’s work will be based on an innovative approach piloted by the LSE’s partner ‘company-builder’ Zinc. It will bring together the best social science ideas with top entrepreneurs to create new products and businesses which will both solve pressing social challenges and improve productivity, a key aim of the UK Government’s recent Industrial Strategy.
Programmes will be mission-led, with cohorts of participants facing up to a specific economic or social problem. The aim of each cohort will be to fulfil an unmet need of at least 100 million people in the developed world through the creation of 10-15 investable businesses.
Zinc’s first cohort, for example, has over 50 individuals from diverse backgrounds- including computer science, entrepreneurship and medicine- in place to create businesses and products to tackle the crisis in women and girls’ emotional and mental health. As part of a six month incubation programme they have access to insights from leading research, entrepreneurial mentors and potential investors.
Further information can be found here.