The partnership of North East universities that is delivering a step-change in the translation of world-class research into sustainable commercial enterprises, has been named Innovation Champion at the North East Innovation Awards 2019.

Northern Accelerator’s win reflects the tangible results already achieved by the innovative collaboration between Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland universities – cultivating a pipeline of high quality businesses and credible investment opportunities.  Since its inception in 2016 it has increased the number of spin-out businesses from its partner universities from an average of under 2 per year, to 10 businesses in the 2018-19 academic year alone. Funded by Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, it has also placed 15 talented chief executives into spin-out companies at an early stage, and allocated over £1.24million funding to 32 projects that take promising research outcomes closer to commercialisation.

While the results so far are impressive, Northern Accelerator aims to make a long-lasting impact on the region’s innovation ecosystem. Through a recently announced partnership with venture capital and social investment firm Northstar Ventures, two new investment routes for university spin-outs are being introduced. Northstar will manage Northern Accelerator’s £1.7million seed capital investment fund and embark on the creation of a much larger Northern Universities Investment Fund.

Chair of Northern Accelerator’s Strategic Advisory Board, Roy Sandbach OBE, said: “This is excellent recognition of the impact Northern Accelerator is making by bringing together world-leading and world-changing North East research with talented business executives and a host of support.

“Not only are our universities making a real-world impact, but we’re boosting the region’s knowledge economy, creating companies that deliver more and better jobs and kick-starting a much needed increase in regional private-sector research and development.”

The North East Innovation Awards are delivered by the Innovation SuperNetwork in partnership with RTC North. They shine a light on organisations and individuals that are driving innovation forward in the region. Northern Accelerator was awarded ‘Innovation Champion – in partnership with CPI’.