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21 December 2017

Midlands Innovation to collaborate on IP work

The universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick plan to launch a unified intellectual property office.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

Midlands Innovation, a group of eight UK universities located in the English Midlands, announced plans yesterday to collaborate on technology transfer.

Midlands Innovation will provide a unified intellectual property office for the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick.

The operation will seek to drive research and entrepreneurship in the Midlands, which is a key growth region for the British government, and said it intends to build up the local innovation ecosystem to the point where it will be able to attract £300m ($400m) for a patient capital fund.

Between them, Midlands Innovation’s partners are currently incubating more than 500 businesses, the group said in a statement. The body claims its members generate the most inventions and patents per unit of research income of any UK university grouping.

The government hopes regional collaborations will close the patient capital gap with the US. Examples include the SetSquared partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.

Such tie-ups can access some $132m made available through the government’s Connecting Capability Fund, $26.4m of which was allocated in October 2017 to four partnerships including SetSquared.

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.”

Trevor McMillan, vice-chancellor of Keele University, added: “Now more than ever before there is 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.”

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