University of York joins economy-boosting Northern Accelerator partnership

Durham University

Dr Andrew Jackson and Dr Tim Hammond

More high-value research and development jobs will be created in the North as the University of York joins Northern Accelerator. The partnership, now consisting of six Northern universities, supports academics to turn their world-leading research into highly investible, innovative businesses.

The collaboration, comprising Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside Universities, is helping address regional imbalance, aiming to level up private sector R&D investment in the North by creating innovation-led businesses that generate high quality jobs.

Northern Accelerator is funded by Research England and led by Durham University. It ensures that world-changing research makes it out of universities to make a real-world impact in sectors such as health, life-sciences and green technology. Here at Durham, we have a strong track record of producing innovative spin-out businesses that have grown into thriving global companies such as Kromek and Applied Graphene Materials.

Creating an innovation ecosystem

Today the partnership's universities are part of a thriving innovation ecosystem, from which 38 businesses have spun-out in the last 5 years. Most of those companies are led by experienced business leaders, brought in by Northern Accelerator's Executives into Business programme. New funding routes and support networks have been created, with spin-out businesses raising over £100m in the last five years.

Over 670 people are currently employed by spin-out businesses from the partnership's universities. Many of these are 'high-value' jobs. An independent evaluation of Northern Accelerator estimated that the average annual productivity (GVA) of the jobs being created by new spinouts is £79,000 compared to the North East's average of £52,000.

New Venture Capital Fund

Northern Accelerator is also creating a dedicated Venture Capital Fund for spin outs from the partnership's universities. York's excellent research base will create an even stronger pipeline of investment opportunities in businesses. Collaboration between universities and businesses is crucial in levelling up and as a combined research commercialisation power, Northern Accelerator is showing investors how much the North has to offer.

Spinning out success: Magnitude Biosciences

Recent success stories of spin-outs that have flourished due to Northern Accelerator's help include Magnitude Biosciences. This Durham University spin-out is helping companies discover and develop new age-related treatments faster.

Magnitude Biosciences provides an automated service to find health-span extending drugs faster and more cost effectively than current approaches.

The company tests on nematode worms, called C. elegans – an established tool in ageing research due. Magnitude Biosciences has developed an innovative 'healthspan machine' to monitor large numbers of nematodes under multiple conditions.

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