MI partners are amongst the country’s best universities for their work supporting businesses and commercialisation

MI partners are amongst the country's best universities for their work supporting businesses and commercialisation

A national assessment of how universities contribute to regional economies and communities 
highlights the strength of universities in the Midlands Innovation partnership in helping to promote 
economic growth through the work they do to support businesses, and also in the creation of new 
‘spin-out’ businesses, products and services that are generated through academic research.

The third national Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) published (September 2023) by Research 
England evaluates the contributions English higher education providers make to communities, both 
economically and socially, at both a local and a national level.

More than 100 universities have provided detailed information of how they work with businesses, 
promote economic growth in their local area and how they build public and community 
engagement.

All eight MI partner institutions, the universities of AstonBirminghamCranfieldKeeleLoughboroughLeicester, Nottingham and Warwick are rated in the top two categories of the country’s highest performing universities for performing to a ‘very high and ‘high’ standard for their work with business, and seven in the ‘very high’ or ‘high’ categories for the IP they generate and the commercialisation of research.

The news of the integral role of Midlands Innovation partners to the success and growth of businesses is highlighted through a number of initiatives that MI is leading. This includes the news that the Universities as Drivers of Trade and Investment pilot – a trail-blazing inward investment pilot to increase more overseas investment into regional research and development – is being extended and expanded due to its success. Whilst the KEF results showing the importance of the IP and commercialisation generated by MI partners is underlined by the bold decision of MI partners to establish Midlands Mindforge Ltd, a patient capital investment company co-founded by the eight MI universities. Midlands Mindforge’s ambition is to accelerate and enhance the commercialisation of ground-breaking university science and technology innovations from the MI universities and other IP rich early stage businesses from across the Midlands region.

Professor Trevor McMillan OBE, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University and Vice-Chair of the Midlands 
Engine Executive Board, has been at the forefront of enhancing knowledge exchange across the 
country, when in his national role as Knowledge Exchange Champion for Research England. Professor 
McMillan said: “The Knowledge Exchange Framework is designed to demonstrate universities’ 
impact on the economy and society. I am delighted that the 2023 results reinforce the research 
strength of MI partner institutions.

“With the country aspiring to become an innovation nation and science superpower, Midlands 
Innovation partners are in strong position to positively influence these aims through the critical role 
they undertake working with businesses, in producing the next generation of entrepreneurs and the commercialisation of research.”

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