Professor Nick Jennings

Vice-Chancellor appointed to board of independent investment company supporting spinouts in the region

Professor Nick Jennings, Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University, has been appointed as a non-executive director on the board of Midlands Mindforge.

Midlands Mindforge is an ambitious patient capital investment company, co-founded by eight research-intensive universities in the Midlands, which is working to accelerate the commercialisation of university spinouts and early-stage IP rich businesses in the region.

The company's goal is to raise up to £250 million from strategic corporate partners, institutional investors, and qualifying individuals, to address a significant gap in funding for early-stage technology businesses in the region and transform ground-breaking science and technology into successful businesses with real-world impact.

On his appointment, Professor Nick Jennings, said:

“Mindforge is focused on investing in the industries of the future. Our universities are making outstanding advances in Life Sciences, Greentech, and Deeptech. Mindforge’s ambition is to anchor these industries in the Midlands, by developing a clear pathway for our researchers to commercialise their transformative innovations and build successful businesses.

“We already have a strong track record across the partnership, for developing collaborations that turn innovative research ideas into successful businesses, including here at Loughborough. Our Creating Better Futures. Together strategy shows our desire to increase both spinout and innovation activity coming out of the University, so I’m excited to see the impact of Mindforge’s work across the region in the future."

Professor Jennings' appointment was announced alongside the full board of directors – a mixture of independent and university appointed individuals - all leaders in their respective fields and well connected to research and innovation in the Midlands.

Commenting on the board appointments, Mr Mike Rees, Chair of Midlands Mindforge, said:

“We are delighted to have recruited such a high-quality board with a full and diverse set of skills. The Midlands Mindforge Board reflects our commitment to the highest standards in corporate governance and gives all stakeholders confidence in the integrity of our processes and people.

“Our Board is comprised of leading people in their respective fields which gives Midlands Mindforge great credibility in its mission to identify, invest in, and scale up, IP-rich university spinouts and other SMEs based in the Midlands.”

Dr Lisa Smith, CEO of Midlands Mindforge, added:

“The experience and talent of our Board represents the seriousness of our ambitions as an independent patient capital investment company. Our Board is deeply connected to the Midlands innovation and research ecosystems and will play a pivotal role in supporting our goal to build a business that will invest in and support the scaling up of successful IP-rich businesses.”

Midlands Mindforge was co-founded in early 2023 by Loughborough University, alongside Aston University, University of Birmingham, Cranfield University, Keele University, University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, and University of Warwick, collectively known as Midlands Innovation.

By combining investment capital and company-building skills and experience, Midlands Mindforge will create a vibrant ecosystem that better supports research entrepreneurs, enables them to benefit from early access to investment. It will nurture early enterprising talent and generate innovative success stories that will cement the region’s position as a leader in the field.