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Durham University

Research & business

Enabling researchers to innovate in business

(6 August 2020)

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

We’re working to create an enabling environment where the inspiring research of our academics can become innovative solutions to economic challenges and needs, both global and local. So we’re excited to announce a new £1.7m (US $2.23m) seed investment fund to support spin-out businesses.

What’s on offer?

The fund is part of Northern Accelerator, which works with academic entrepreneurs to turn world-leading research into commercial opportunities.

It will provide investments in businesses that have spun out of the four universities in North East England that are part of the Northern Accelerator partnership: Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland.

It will focus on important sectors of the economy including healthcare, clean technology and data.

We hope it will both provide the up-front investment new businesses need to thrive and support the North East economy and job creation in the long-term.

What is Northern Accelerator?

The partnership was set up in 2016 and the number of spin-out businesses it has supported has more than doubled in the past year – putting the Northern Accelerator universities on a par with universities in the South East of England including Oxford and Cambridge.

One success is Magnitude Biosciences, which specialises in drug discovery in the field of ageing and grew from work done in our Biosciences and Physics departments.

The firm recently announced they were moving to new premises, at NETPark, the North East Technology Park.

Supporting businesses through Covid-19 and beyond

Northern Accelerator is just one way we’re supporting businesses through the pandemic and towards recovery.

We’re also supporting a virtual internship programme, enabling our students to get work experience and companies to benefit from their learning.

We’re developing a university enterprise zone, offering business accommodation and laboratory space; we’re working with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership on a new economic recovery plan for the region; and we’re part of a new taskforce to help our County bounce back too.

More information

The new seed investment fund will be managed by Northstar Ventures, an investment firm based in Newcastle.

For more information, please visit: