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More life-changing businesses and high-value jobs to be created as the University of York joins economy-boosting Northern Accelerator partnership

More high-value research and development jobs will be created in the North as the University of York joins Northern Accelerator. The partnership, now consisting of six Northern universities, has already transformed the commercialisation of research across the North East of England. And now York is set to benefit from the programme that supports academics to turn their world-leading research into highly investible, innovative businesses.

The collaboration, also comprising Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities, is helping address regional imbalance, aiming to level up private sector R&D investment in the North by creating innovation-led businesses that generate high quality jobs. It ensures that world-changing research makes it out of universities to make a real-world impact in sectors such as health, life-sciences and green technology.  

Today the partnership’s universities are part of a thriving innovation ecosystem, from which 38 businesses have spun-out in the last 5 years. Most of those companies are led by experienced business leaders, brought in by Northern Accelerator’s Executives into Business programme. New funding routes and support networks have been created, with spin-out businesses raising over £100m in the last five years.

Over 670 people are currently employed by spin-out businesses from the partnership’s universities. Many of these are ‘high-value’ jobs. An independent evaluation of Northern Accelerator estimated that the average annual productivity (GVA) of the jobs being created by new spinouts is £79,000 compared to the North East’s average of £52,000.

Dr Tim Hammond, Director of Commercialisation and Economic Development at Durham University and Programme Lead for Northern Accelerator said: “York joining us is a major step in Northern Accelerator’s journey, from an initial ERDF funded project to a much larger programme funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, we’re now able to extend our best practice support model across the whole of the region and into North Yorkshire, combining with the University of York’s excellent research base.

“As well as supporting academics to spin-out their businesses we’re creating a dedicated Venture Capital Fund for spinouts from Northern Accelerator universities and York’s inclusion will create an even stronger pipeline of investment opportunities in businesses that will produce benefit locally, nationally and globally.

“Collaboration between universities and businesses is crucial in levelling up and as a combined research commercialisation power, Northern Accelerator is showing investors how much the North has to offer.”

Dr Andrew Jackson, Director of Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange said: “In 2021/2022 York had a research income of £79.3m and we have a track record of spinning out businesses from our research; one such company, Cizzle Biotechnology PLC, is the first York spin-out to be publicly listed. Working with Northern Accelerator, we will transform the rate at which we’re able to turn our research into commercial opportunities that contribute to the public good. We're looking forward to being part of this partnership, sharing best practice with other members and investing in our academics to develop their entrepreneurial skills."

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