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Loughborough to host new £3m campaign to attract global R&D investment

A groundbreaking coalition of seventeen universities from the Midlands launched a new £3m international campaign to attract inward investment into R&D, innovation and science – leveraging their global connections to drive economic growth across their region.

Led by Midlands Innovation and the Midlands Engine Partnership and hosted at Loughborough University, the Invest in UK University R&D – Midlands Campaign has been developed with a range of regional partners including the West Midlands Growth Company, Midlands Enterprise Universities and the East Midlands Freeport.

It was launched at the UK Real Estate, Infrastructure and Investment Forum (UKREIIF), which was attended by nearly 13,000 investors, delegates and developers.

 Minister of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Andrew Griffith MP, announced an award of £1.5 million from the UK’s International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF) to support the campaign over the next two years, which has been matched by universities and regional partners.

 The campaign will see universities across the Midlands joining forces to create a more ambitious offer to global investors. It will showcase the five where the Midlands is world-renowned for the strength of its research and innovation: Health and life sciences, Agritech, Creative and digital, Transport technologies and Zero carbon energy. They will also leverage their international alumni, industry and university connections focused in six markets (Australia, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the USA) to engage investors and raise the profile of the Midlands.

Aligning with the priorities of the new West and East Midlands Mayors and other local leaders, it will help promote the region as an outstanding destination for global investment. It will support efforts from government and local growth agencies to secure game-changing funding for innovation focused major regeneration projects across the region that have universities as a core partner. These include sites within both West and East Midlands Investment Zones.

The campaign will also work closely with Midlands Mindforge, an independent patient capital investment company, established by the eight research intensive universities in the Midlands Innovation partnership. Midlands Mindforge aims to deploy £250m to “invest with impact”, founding and scaling transformational science backed companies in sectors such as Clean Technologies, AI & Computational Science, Life Sciences & Health Tech. It will create highly skilled jobs in the Midlands and support the UK’s ambition to become a science and technology superpower.

The campaign announcement was welcomed at the launch event at UKREIIF by Loughborough University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Jennings and Professor Dan Parsons, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

Professor Jennings said: “I am delighted that that our consortium of universities and regional partners have been able to secure this highly competitive funding and that Loughborough University will host the Invest in UK University R&D – Midlands Campaign. It is testament to the trailblazing nature of the partners in the Midlands that this is being seen as a pilot to inform future national policy and practice. We are stronger together and will attract the foreign direct investment through partnership working.”

Campaign programme lead Professor Parsons added: “The £1.5m grant from the Government’s highly prestigious International Science Partnership Fund, match funded by our Midlands consortium, will accelerate and broaden our scale up activities across the collective research and innovation strengths in the regional universities. Together we will create a compelling and ambitious offer to global investors.”

Professor Julia Sutcliffe, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business and Trade, who will Chair the campaign’s Advisory Group, addressed over 300 investors and partners at the Midlands Engine Reception at UKREIIF: “By supporting inward investment into science, technology and innovation, the Department for Business and Trade is key to delivering the Government’s ambition for the UK to become a Science and Technology Superpower by 2030. This collaboration from the Midlands is a great example of how places, universities and the public sector can come together to drive greater investment into R&D across the regions.”

Midlands Engine Partnership Chairman, Sir John Peace, said: “This funding will provide a platform for us to showcase the unique strengths of the Midlands and position our region on the global investment map. This programme is a perfect example of how the power of partnership between the Midlands Engine and our fantastic universities is helping extend the global reach of our region.”