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The North East’s universities are joining forces to commercialise research and boost the region’s economy after receiving £4.9m in Government funding.

The award comes from the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF), made by Research England, and announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

It will see Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland universities working together to make a step change in delivering research to the marketplace and to develop entrepreneurship amongst their academics through an ideas impact hub and associated proof of concept support.

The project will build upon and take its name from, the existing Northern Accelerator programme – a collaboration between Durham and Newcastle universities that has built a network of entrepreneurs who are embedded at the earliest stages in the universities’ spin-out companies.

The project also aims to establish an ongoing North East University Investment Fund (NEUIF) to support research-based spin-out companies in the region long-term after the CCF funding comes to an end.

The Northern Accelerator project, which will be led by Durham University, will focus on four key areas of regional strength – advanced manufacturing, the chemicals and process sector, life sciences and healthcare and digital.

The CCF-funded Northern Accelerator project will run until 31 March 2021