A research spin-off is a company that falls into at least one of the four following categories:
- Companies that have an equity investment from a national library or university
- Companies that license technology from a public research institute or university
- Companies that consider a university or public sector employee to have been a founder
- Companies that have been established directly by a public research institution
The two main research spin-off models in Russia are those developed from the Institutes of the Academy of Science and Svetlana. QinetiQ is an example of a research spin-off in the United Kingdom.