IP Evaluate

IP Evaluate is a scheme that aims to recruit students to assist Innovations in the initial evaluation of inventions disclosed by Imperial researchers in exchange for remuneration.

Why did you start IP Evaluate?

A key step in the process of protecting and commercialising new intellectual property (IP) is to assess whether it is patentable. We do this through prior art searches. Each year we receive around 400 new invention disclosures (IDS) which need to be reviewed.

This is a time-intensive process and quite complex. Evaluate was created to help Innovations tackle this initial stage in IDS evaluation.

What do I get?

IP Evaluate is an opportunity to get first-hand experience in IP analysis and prior art searching. You will develop an understanding of IP (particularly patents), what constitutes patentable subject matter, and the role that IP can have in the commercial development of a product.

Through your assignments, you will also reinforce literature researching skills which you have developed throughout your academic career.

You will also be paid for your contributions. See below for more details.

How do I join?

In order to participate in IP Evaluate, you will need to complete a trial patent search based on a past prior art search. You can expect to be contacted with the outcome within two weeks of submitting your evaluation work.

Should your application be successful, you will receive a "Letter of Engagement" with Evaluate's Terms & Conditions. You should read this carefully and return to us with your response.

This is a pilot scheme

IP Evaluate is a pilot scheme. During this initial period, projects involved in the programme will come from an engineering background. Should you have any questions, you can contact us by e-mailing

Basic Terms & Conditions:

  • There is a fixed fee of £50 per completed prior art search
  • The contract period will last for 12 months
  • You must be elligible to work in the UK in order to take part in Evaluate
  • Those enrolled in the scheme will be simultaneously notified of available projects
  • You will have 14 days from the date of assignment to complete a prior art search

Why are patents so important?

A patent grants its holder an exclusive right over the commercialisation of an invention. With a granted patent, a company can legally stop a competitor who is using or selling their product without prior agreement. Patents can also be traded or licensed in exchange for money or shares.

A company’s patent portfolio and pipeline are central to its business plan, not least because it can help secure investment. Holding patents assures potential investors that their money would be protected.

What are patentability and prior art?

Patentability refers to whether or not an invention is qualified tocan be patented. One of the main criteria for patentability is its novelty. For a technology to be considered novel, it must be absent from the public domain. That is to say, it won’t be described in any publication (academic or otherwise), speech, or any other media. We establish this via a prior art search.

Want to learn more?

We offer courses on IP and its role in academic research, as well as other aspects of science commercialisation, via the Innovation Academy. If you would like to arrange a seminar/workshop on IP for your department or research group, contact us by e-mail at

See when the our next courses will take place

Submitting your report

If you have a report you would like to submit, you can begin the process by clicking on the button below.

Your report should include the completed Excel template, as well as a Word document with a summary of the invention disclosure and the keywords you identified from it.

Once you have all the documents ready, send them via e-mail to, quoting Evaluate and the project name and/or number. If you are submitting your trial prior art search, please make sure to mention this in your e-mail. We will contact you within within two weeks of submission with the outcome and feedback.

Submit your report

Continue to

The prior art search