Apart from any third party material you quote in the thesis, the copyright in the original material you write normally belongs to you. There may, however, be instances when the research has been supported (e.g. by a funding council or by an industrial sponsor) and the terms of the agreement require that copyright in the thesis be transferred to the sponsor. Similarly, UK research funding councils, and some other funders such as the Wellcome Trust, require that any sponsored thesis be published under Open Access arrangements.
If the thesis deals with the development of a new product or process which might be patentable, you should discuss this with your supervisor and Alta Innovations Ltd (the University company that deals with patents and licensing) as appropriate.
Please note that publication of your thesis (or parts of it in journals, on the web, or in conference proceedings, including in poster sessions) before patents have been applied for can compromise those applications.
As copyright holder you can enter into agreements with journal, book or conference proceedings publishers to reprint your original material in any form you want. However, you cannot reproduce any third-party material (outside of permitted limits) that appeared in your thesis in subsequent publications without the permission of the rights-holders.
You should be very careful if you quoted material for ‘criticism or review’ in the original, and it is always best to seek permission for re-publication. Even if you received permission to include a large amount of text for inclusion in your thesis (say as an appendix),you should not re-quote that in any subsequent publication without seeking permission to do so. You should also make sure that any third party material you use is not covered by an embargo on re-publication, no matter how much or little is used.