A group of the country’s “technological powerhouse” universities have launched a new investment company to support start-ups in the north of England.
The Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester have said they aim to raise up to £500 million to fund companies in the areas of manufacturing, health and life sciences, artificial intelligence, and data sciences.
Start-ups eligible for funding will either be businesses that were formed as spinouts from the university or companies with historical links to one of the three institutions.
“The company aims to be a key part of the government’s ‘Build Back Better’ levelling up agenda and ‘Plan for Growth’ in the North,” a statement from the University of Sheffield said.
Money will be raised through investment from “strategic corporate partners institutional investors and qualifying individuals”
Professor Dave Petley, Vice President for Innovation at the University of Sheffield said: “Northern Gritstone is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and collaboration between three of the country’s leading research universities, but we are just at the beginning of a project that has immense potential for everyone, from investors to researchers.”
If successful in raising its £500 million target, Northern Gritstone will be one of the largest dedicated investors into the commercialisation of university science and technology related Intellectual Property in the UK.
Jane Madeley, the University of Leeds’ Chief Financial Officer, who will represent the University as a non-executive director on Northern Gritstone’s board, said: “Leeds and our fellow founding universities are technological powerhouses, pursuing research and innovation that has the potential to help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world.
“But a lack of capital investment has sometimes limited that capability – Northern Gritstone will go a long way to help release this pent-up potential.”