The FINANCIAL — Midlands Innovation, a group of eight universities including Aston University and one of the UK’s most influential academic collaborations, has launched its plan for collaboration in technology transfer.
The announcement was made at an event held at The Shard, London, according to Aston University.
Midlands Innovation is a pioneering partnership which seeks to amplify the economic development of the Midlands through uniting universities and industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development.
In addition to Aston, the other partners are the universities of Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. Collectively, their academics generate more new inventions and patents per unit of research income than any other leading groups of UK universities.
The event – which had speakers including Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine, pictured, and Mark Payton, CEO of Mercia Technologies PLC – outlined that to make these inventions easily available to investors and businesses, the universities’ technology transfer units have come together to provide a single point of access to intellectual property assets. This makes it easy for investors to access opportunities and enhances support available for growing businesses.
Helen Turner, Director of Midlands Innovation, said: “Midlands Innovation is looking for large ‘patient capital’ investors. People who are willing to back new ideas in the Midlands for the long term. People with vision and management talent who understand the potential for success in our region. People who will work with our great universities to create new value for the UK economy.”
Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor at Keele University, who welcomed guests to the event, said: “Now more than ever before there a need for universities to work together to underpin the social and economic fabric of the Midlands and exploit our international reach for regional economic benefit.
“Our growing collaboration in the area of technology transfer is central to this. I am a long-standing advocate of strategic partnerships across the HE sector and welcome the growing focus on collaborative approaches to provide business from the UK and overseas, with clear and effective routes into our expertise and intellectual property.”
Within easy reach of London, the Midlands is essential to national economic success. The region is responsible for over a fifth of the UK’s total manufacturing capability. The services sector in the Midlands accounts for over four million jobs and is worth around £158 billion a year. The Government wants the Midlands to become a growth engine for the whole UK.
Midlands Innovation unites the power of university research with the unique strengths of Midlands industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development and economic growth. Collectively, partners are incubating more than 500 businesses and helping many more to innovate.
The partnership is working together to build up the innovation environment in the Midlands to the point that it will attract a £300m ‘Patient’ investment fund, driving new growth businesses and new high value jobs in the UK economy. Just as for other innovation places in the UK, the Midlands needs ‘Patient’ investment capital to achieve its economic growth goals.