Aston University is one of eight research intensive universities in the Midlands to establish a new investment company to accelerate the commercialisation of university spinouts and early-stage IP rich businesses in the region.
Midlands Mindforge Limited has been co-founded by Aston University, University of Birmingham, Cranfield University, Keele University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham and University of Warwick, collectively Midlands Innovation.
This ambitious, patient capital investment company plans to raise up to £250 million from strategic corporate partners, institutional investors and qualifying individuals. It aims to transform ground-breaking science and technology into successful businesses with real-world impact.
Midlands Mindforge will help to address the significant funding deficit for early-stage technology businesses in the region. Through the combination of additional capital and company-building skills, Midlands Mindforge will lay the foundations of a more vibrant ecosystem for emerging science-backed companies in areas such as Clean Technology, AI and Computational Science, Life Sciences and Health Tech.
Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said: “Aston University has a strong track record in bringing together industry and academia to solve real world problems and drive innovation through applied and translational research. Investment raised through Midlands Mindforge will enable a step change that will ensure we get the very best outcomes for our research.
“The impact of increased investment in research translation will be felt widely, with Midlands Mindforge supporting the growth of high value added businesses and jobs in the region and creating the right conditions to build future global companies.
“This is a hugely exciting time for Aston University and the wider Midlands Innovation group of universities, and I look forward to seeing the benefits that this strategic development will bring.”
Collectively, the eight founding universities have the most postgraduate students, the highest levels of annual income, more research disclosures and patents generated per unit of research spend in the last three years, in comparison to any other UK university grouping.
Minister of State for Science, Research & Innovation George Freeman MP said: “Commercialising UK science & technology for global industrial adoption has never been more urgent – for both the UK economy and the global resource challenges facing us. The Midlands Innovation universities are driving a new era of innovation from robotics and advanced manufacturing to life science and autonomous vehicles and much more.
“As we in Government increase UK public R&D to a record £20 billion a year, the key is private finance backing spinouts and scale-ups. The Midlands is rapidly becoming a world class UK cluster of excellence and Midlands Mindforge will play a key role in bringing global investors to help back world class companies.”
Chairman of the Midlands Engine Partnership, Sir John Peace, said: “The Midlands has always been associated with exceptional invention and creativity, but has long experienced significant underinvestment and consequently productivity levels have lagged behind the rest of the UK.
“This bold and ambitious initiative led by the Midlands Innovation universities has the potential to help close the investment gap, supporting our region to reach its true potential for sustainable economic growth.
“Midlands Mindforge will help to further fast-track commercialisation of research ideas, creating a more resilient economy and playing an important role in levelling up the Midlands.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “A key part of my mayoral mission is to drive our regional recovery forward and help generate the high-quality jobs of the future in order to improve quality of life for local people. This exciting new investment vehicle will very much support that mission – planting the seeds for long-term sustainable economic growth here in the West Midlands.
“Many brilliant ideas and top businesses have spun out from Midlands universities and this new venture will help us to advance that agenda and retain more of our innovative success stories within our region.
“Together we can better nurture the enterprising talent on our doorstep and this new endeavour creates a wonderful opportunity to do just that.”
For more information about Midlands Mindforge visit www.midlandsmindforge.com