Tech transfer network to accelerate Midlands innovation


12 October 2018

  • Midlands Innovation universities launch collaboration to attract investment and management talent to the region. 

The Midlands Innovation group of universities has launched the largest collaboration between university technology transfer offices in the UK, to attract investment and management talent to the region.

The Midlands Innovation Commercialisation of Research Accelerator (MICRA) will share best practice and share resources across technology transfer offices in Midlands universities. The partnership will support the development of spin-out companies, helping them to obtain finance and expertise, and accelerating the rate at which innovations are able to be commercialised.

The announcement was made at an event held at The University of Birmingham to over 120 invited guests.

The event – which had speakers including Alice Hu-Wagner, Managing Director for Strategy, Policy and Business Development and Markets at the British Business Bank and Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange at Research England – outlined the opportunities the Midlands region presents to industry and investors and the value of collaborations and innovation between industry and universities. Funded by Research England through the Connecting Capability Fund, the event heard about the challenges faced by universities in driving the uptake of their Intellectual Property (IP).

Helen Turner, Director of Midlands Innovation, said: “Midlands Innovation provides a collaborative structure which enables technology transfer offices to strengthen their capacity and share best practice.  By working together MICRA aims to attract large ‘patient capital’ investors who are willing to back new ideas.  People with vision and management talent who understand the potential for success in our region.”

Dr Angela Jeffery, Director of Innovation at Aston University said “MICRA provides a really exciting opportunity to use Midlands Innovations critical mass of innovations to attract investors and entrepreneurial management to the Midlands to generate more companies that endure and provide high quality jobs.”

Commenting on the MICRA launch event, Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange at Research England, said: “Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund is investing in eighteen projects to demonstrate the world class commercialisation practiced in our universities. This includes MICRA being launched today - an ambitious project bringing together the largest formal technology transfer collaboration in the country, with benefits for research, the Midlands area and for delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy and 2.4% target.”

Within easy reach of London, the Midlands is essential to national economic success. The region is responsible for over a fifth of the UK’s total manufacturing capability. The services sector in the Midlands accounts for over four million jobs and is worth around £158 billion a year.

Midlands Innovation unites the power of university research with the unique strengths of Midlands industry to drive pioneering research, innovation, skills development and economic growth. Collectively partners are incubating more than 600 businesses and supporting over 1600 jobs.

MI partners include the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. Academics in these universities generate more new inventions and patents per unit of research income than any other UK universities group. 

To find out more about MICRA and how you can get involved, visit:


Notes to the editor

Photos (click links to download)

·         Aston University campus pictures

About Dr Angela Jeffery

Angela is currently Director of Innovation at Aston University and leads on regional partnerships and grants. She has D. Phil in Molecular Biology from The University of Oxford and an MSc in IP Management (Queen Mary, University of London). She been working at the interface between universities and business for the last 15 years. She set up the Centre for Enterprise and Innovation at St George's, University of London and was the St George's Executive Director for the West Focus consortium. She was also part of the steering group for the Heptagon Life Science Proof of concept fund. She has set up several spin out companies and licence deals such as the Colibra™ Technology to Isogenica as well as being part of the team securing £4.3Million from the Wellcome Trust for an asthma therapeutic development programme. She has also acted as an Expert Reviewer for the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Action.

About Midlands Innovation

Midlands Innovation is a world-class research and innovation partnership, combining the collective excellence of eight leading universities in the heart of the UK – Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. It unites the power of university research with the unique strengths of Midlands industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive

For more information, contact Dr Angela Jeffery on 0121 204 3366  

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