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Northern universities plan £500m raise to invest in start-ups and scale-ups

University of Leeds

Investment company Northern Gritstone, launched by the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, has announced plans to raise up to £500m from strategic corporate partners, institutional investors, and qualifying individuals. 

The new investment company is hoped to help boost the commercialisation of university spinouts and start-ups in the North of England. 

These businesses will either be newly formed spinouts or ones historically founded by or linked to the universities, in areas such as advanced materials and manufacturing, health and life sciences, artificial intelligence, and data sciences. 

The three universities initially came together in 2018 to create the Northern Triangle Initiative and secured a £5 million award from the Research England Connecting Capabilities Fund (CCF). 

Jane Madeley, the University of Leeds’ Chief Financial Officer, will represent the University as a non-executive director on Northern Gritstone’s board. 

She 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.” 

The University of Manchester Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Luke Georghiou, who is responsible for business engagement and commercialisation activities at the institution, added: “This company will be a game-changer for investment and commercialisation of university-led research, ideas and IP in the UK.” 

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