Research from universities across the South of England could be commercialised and turned into successful business faster than ever before, thanks to a multi-million pound project announced today [November 26] by Minster for Universities and Science, Greg Clark MP.
Funded by HEFCE and Innovate UK, the £3.2 million iCURE project aims to ‘bridge the valley of death’ identified by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee.
The project will help address issues raised in the Government’s response to the Committee’s inquiry last year, including the importance of innovation by universities in managing intellectual property and of attention to the availability of ‘proof of concept’ funding.
iCURE will see HEFCE, Innovate UK and university enterprise partnership SETsquared work together on a pilot to tackle these issues and help accelerate research being successfully commercialised and ‘spun out’ new high-potential companies.
Under the programme, early-stage researchers at the five SETsquared universities (Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey) will be given tailored training, mentoring and funds to speed up the commercialisation of their ideas, technologies and products.
The project was inspired by Innovate UK’s review of a similar programme operated by the US National Science Foundation, and is funded by a £2.8 million HEFCE cash injection and £400,000 from Innovate UK.
Universities, Science and Cites Minster Greg Clark MP said: “Collaboration is the key to turning the best research into new businesses. We are proud that SETsquared is already Europe’s best incubator, and second in the world, which is why we are supporting this pilot scheme. It will provide skills, support and mentoring to help the UK’s best researchers turn their ideas into commercial success. This strengthens the UK’s positon as the best place for science and technology research, and drives forward our economic growth.”
Innovate UK, which helps businesses bring new innovations to the market, is separately making £6 million available over the next two years to help university spin-out companies develop faster and be more attractive to private investors. The iCURE programme was announced today as SETsquared held its 11th annual investment showcase, Accelerating Growth, at the Shard.