Ƶ part of £3m international campaign to champion research and innovation

Universities have launched a £3m international campaign to attract inward investment into R&D, innovation and science in the Midlands – leveraging their global connections to drive economic growth across the region.

Ƶ Leicester (Ƶ) is part of the new campaign, led by Midlands Innovation and the Midlands Engine Partnership.
– Midlands Campaign has been developed with a range of regional partners including the West Midlands Growth Company, Midlands Enterprise Universities and the East Midlands Freeport.

Investment JPG

It was launched this week at the UK Real Estate, Infrastructure and Investment Forum (UKREIIF) which was attended by nearly 13,000 investors, delegates and developers.

Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, Andrew Griffith MP, announced an award of £1.5 million from the UK’s International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF) to support the campaign over the next two years, which has been matched by universities and regional partners.

The Minister said: “The UK is home to world class research hubs and by bringing together the expertise and connections of universities, government and industry, we can bolster our efforts to win international investment into some of the Midlands’ strongest sectors.

“Our country’s universities have directly attracted around £4bn of foreign investment into their research since 2015. This new campaign, supported by £1.5m from the Government’s International Science Partnership Fund, will help bring in more backing for the region’s excellent research.”

The campaign will see universities across the Midlands joining forces to create a more ambitious offer to global investors. It will showcase five sectors where the Midlands is world-renowned for the strength of its research and innovation - Agritech, Creative & Digital, Health & Life Sciences, Transport Technology, and Zero Carbon Energy.

They will also leverage their international alumni, industry and university connections in six markets (Australia, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the USA) to engage investors and raise the profile of the Midlands.

Aligning with the priorities of the new West and East Midlands Mayors and other local leaders, it will help promote the region as an outstanding destination for global investment. It will support efforts from government and local growth agencies to secure game-changing funding for major regeneration projects across the region that have universities as a core partner. These include sites within both West and East Midlands Investment Zones.

Professor Mike Kagioglou, PVC Research, Business and Innovation at Ƶ, said: “Harnessing the research power of 17 universities will allow us, collectively, to showcase the huge untapped potential that exists across the Midlands. We are proud to be a part of this pioneering initiative which will allow us all to promote superb research and innovation to companies around the world, driving investment and economic growth.”

The campaign will also work closely with Midlands Mindforge, an independent patient capital investment company, established by the eight research intensive universities in the Midlands Innovation partnership. Midlands Mindforge aims to deploy £250m to “invest with impact”, founding and scaling transformational science backed companies in sectors such as Clean Technologies, AI & Computational Science, Life Sciences & Health Tech. It will create highly skilled jobs in the Midlands and support the UK’s ambition to become a science and technology superpower.

Welcoming the announcement of the Campaign at UKREIIF, the Minister for Investment, Lord Dominic Johnson said: “Our unrivalled universities are attracting the world’s brightest minds to the UK, boosting innovation and helping to drive record levels of overseas investment into our country.

“This has helped some of our world-leading sectors in life sciences, AI, nuclear and others reach new heights and put the UK on the way to becoming a science and technology superpower.

“With support from the Office for Investment, the wider department has worked closely with Midlands Mindforge to help drive efforts to attract significant investment into the Midlands’ economy.”

Helen Donnellan, Director of Research, Business and Innovation at Ƶ, is director of the Midlands Enterprise Universities. She said: “Our pilot programme showcased the potential our universities have to drive investment into UK regional research and development.

“We are delighted to see this campaign get the support of the Government to take this to a new level and particularly pleased to see the creative industries as one of the five sectors, which is a key strength for us.”

The campaign is also being supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK’s Global Science and Innovation Network (SIN), which is jointly funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

This most recent award follows-on from the ‘Universities as Drivers of Trade and Investment’ Pilot, led by Midlands Innovation, Midlands Engine Partnership and Midlands Enterprise Universities, with support from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The programme helped lay the groundwork for the campaign by demonstrating the enormous potential universities have to play a much greater role in driving overseas trade and investment into UK regional R&D.

Alex Favier, Programme Director at Midlands Innovation will lead the campaign and said: “Individually, our universities all have outstanding innovation, talent, and state-of-the-art R&D facilities. But together, our collaboration and connections become a distinct competitive advantage for any investor seeking a partnership with a Midlands university.”

Midlands Engine Partnership Chairman, Sir John Peace, said: “This funding will provide a platform for us to showcase the unique strengths of the Midlands and position our region on the global investment map. This programme is a perfect example of how the power of partnership between the Midlands Engine and our fantastic universities is helping extend the global reach of our region”.

Posted on Wednesday 22 May 2024

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