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17 October 2017

Trio triangulates $6.6m for collaboration

The universities of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield have received government funding to improve the commercialisation ecosystem in northern England.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

The universities of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield are to launch a £5m ($6.6m) bid to improve access to finance for spinouts in the north of England.

The Northern Triangle Initiative (NTI) will focus on joint intellectual property (IP) generation in common areas of expertise for the universities, including advanced materials, medical technologies and computer science.

The scheme will receive the £5m injection over three years, to support the creation of some 75 tech transfer projects. The universities also plan to launch an investment fund for northern England to help raise £350m of capital from the private sector.

NTI was identified by the UK government as one of four programs to share £20m from its Connecting Capability Fund (CCF). CCF, which has a total budget of £100m, aims to expand cooperation between universities to improve research and commercialisation.

Clive Rowland, chief executive of Manchester’s tech transfer and knowledge transfer arm, UMI3, said the scheme could allow NTI’s participants to license more IPs, rather than depending on spinouts that tend to draw entrepreneurial interest.

He added: “We will use this award to create a significant “Northern Triangle” funding capability to create a positive collaborative climate and accelerate the amazing commercial potential of the research powerhouses at the universities of Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

“This funding along with our existing investor partnerships, will help us overcome the continuing challenge of bridging the very risky stage between the laboratory and the marketplace, where developing prototypes is crucial to attracting venture funding.”

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