10th April 2018:  The University of Birmingham is to lead a connected system of incubators and accelerators that will drive jobs and economic growth across the Midlands region, following a £5 million award announced today by Research England.

The award will establish MICRA as the largest formal technology transfer collaboration in the UK, providing a single gateway to the collective intellectual property (IP) resources from the eight Midlands Innovation universities – Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. 

The Midlands Innovation universities already generate more new inventions and patents per unit of research income than any other leading group of UK universities, and the funding is expected to be a key driver for significant new investment and jobs in the region. 

Collaborating with industry and organisations from all sectors, the MICRA programme will provide support and access for enterprise development, investment and investor relationships to help entrepreneurs drive their ideas forward, meet a wider community of like-minded people and find the right targeted incubation support within the partnership.

Dr James Wilkie, Director of Enterprise & Innovation at the University of Birmingham, commented: “The Midlands of the UK has a strong track record of innovation and tremendous capacity for growth.  We are very proud to be leading this initiative that brings together our leading universities to provide a single point of contact for investors.”

“Collaborating with strategic partners is crucial.  It allows us to collectively offer a critical mass of innovation for the region and appeal to investors who are seeking long-term investment opportunities,” says Dr Helen Turner, Midlands Innovation Director.  “Offering a single-route that makes it easy for investors to access opportunities and enhance the support available for growing businesses is highly appealing.  Attracting large ‘patient capital’ investors who are willing to back new ideas with vision and management talent, and who understand the potential for success will drive new growth businesses and new high value jobs in the UK economy.”

With state-of-the-art technology platforms, science parks and incubators, the Midlands Innovation partnership is well positioned to underpin the social and economic fabric of the Midlands.  Working across the partnership, the Technology Transfer Offices will be able to access Intellectual Property Case Managers with detailed sector knowledge quickly and efficiently. 

Professor Stuart Croft, Chair of the Midlands Innovation Board and Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick, commented: “I am delighted that the Midlands Innovation partnership continues to go from strength to strength with the announcement of this Connecting Capability Fund Award from Research England.  Our expertise and capabilities cuts across all disciplines and its rewarding to see how this activity is now translating into new and exciting strands for the partnership.”

The University of Birmingham is already well known for the economic and social benefits of its research.  It shares its knowledge and expertise to help a wide range of enterprises, including entrepreneurs, start-ups, social ventures and major industrial concerns to innovate and grow.

Submitted on 11/04/2018