Northern Accelerator is a partnership between

Northern Accelerator is an exciting collaboration between four North East universities to commercialise research and boost the region’s economy.

Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities are working together to accelerate the translation of world-class research into commercial opportunities. We bring together academics and business leaders, with a host of funding and support, to form sustainable businesses that create more and better jobs.
Backed by funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, we’re already making a demonstrable impact.
With a pipeline of innovation from a strong research base and teams with excellent technology transfer experience, our collaborative approach is developing untapped potential and transforming the North East’s university innovation infrastructure.
Our support covers every stage of the research commercialisation journey, from the germ of an idea through to the launch and growth of a successful spin-out business.

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“…we are not fulfilling Britain’s potential if, despite having scientists and universities renowned the world over, we cannot turn their ideas into the products and services on which the industries of the future will be built.
UK Industrial Strategy (2018), building a Britain fit for the future
“Northern Accelerator is a game-changer for the north east economy, a vital contribution to delivering the regional strategic economic plans and a national exemplar. It connects world-class university research with proven business expertise, creating viable enterprises that will contribute to regional prosperity.” 
Roy Sandbach OBE, Chair of Northern Accelerator’s Strategic Advisory Board
“Understanding both the technology and its commercial potential is essential for the translation of great science into an exciting business opportunity”
Dr Mick McLean, CEO Atelerix, a Newcastle University spin-out
“It’s clear Northern Accelerator has significantly improved outcomes… by improving quality and quantity of propositions seeking investment they have managed to raise larger rounds from a widening investor cohort.”
Alex Buchan, Investment Director at Northstar Ventures

Case Studies


Newcastle University

A new biotech spin-out, Atelerix, is offering encapsulated human cells in an alginate gel made from seaweed making them practical, adaptable and easy to store and transport, even at room temperature.

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Durham University

Intogral has developed a world leading technology to support the diagnosis of eye-diseases.

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Durham University

A fast and reproducible system to test compounds for ageing.

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University of Sunderland

Healthcare experts and collaborators at Sunderland have been awarded funding of almost £50,000 from Northern Accelerator to develop a drug for the pre-clinical proof-of-concept stage over the next eight months

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Northern Accelerator support includes:

Ideas Impact Hub
We encourage academics to embrace opportunities for enterprise – providing training to help recognise and exploit intellectual property

Pre-incorporation funds
We offer funding for academics to take high-quality research projects closer to commercialisation

Innovation assessment
We offer a detailed business-readiness diagnostic of commercial opportunities, providing robust external due-diligence

Executives into business
We have a pool of experienced and talented business executives to match to opportunities to lead university spin-outs

Seed fund
We have an investment fund of seed capital to help spin-outs validate business models and demonstrate value to investors

Venture capital fund
Northern Accelerator will create a sustainable change in the innovation environment through an ongoing venture fund for university spin-outs