Cranfield University is one of the recipients of a £5 million award announced by the Secretary of State, Greg Clarke.

The award, from Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF), supports universities working with businesses and other partners to commercialise research, share good practice and staff.

The funds have been awarded to Midlands Innovation, which combines 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.

Midlands Innovation is to launch a connected system of technology transfer offices that will drive jobs and economic growth across the Midlands region. The award will establish Midlands Innovation Commercialisation of Research Accelerator (MICRA) as a single gateway to the collective intellectual property (IP) resources from the eight Midlands Innovation universities.

The universities already generate more new inventions and patents per unit of research income than any other leading group of UK universities, and the funding is expected to be a key driver for significant new investment and jobs in the region.

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, said: "These projects demonstrate the commitment of universities to work together to strengthen the R&D and technological capabilities of the UK, building upon our successful Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). In the Industrial Strategy, the Government asked us to improve our ability to turn exciting ideas into commercial products and services. Universities have stepped forward in these projects to show that they can do world-class commercialisation, alongside world-class science. I believe these projects present important innovations that should inform our strategic approach to commercialisation in UK Research and Innovation for the future."

Working in partnership with industry and organisations from all sectors, the MICRA programme will provide support and access for enterprise development, investment and investor relationships, to help the technology developed in the universities to be implemented in industry.

Robert Evans, Technology Transfer Manager at Cranfield University, said: “At Cranfield, we have world leading research in many sectors, including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, energy, agri-tech, water and defence. The MICRA project will allow us to link with the other universities to provide an enormous boost to innovation and the adoption of new technology."

Dr Helen Turner, Midlands Innovation Director, said: “Collaborating with strategic partners is crucial. It allows us to collectively offer a critical mass of innovation for the region and appeal to investors who are seeking long-term investment opportunities. Offering a single-access route that makes it easy for investors to access opportunities and enhance the support available for growing businesses is highly appealing. Attracting large ‘patient capital’ investors who are willing to back new ideas with vision and management talent, and who understand the potential for success will drive new growth businesses and new high value jobs in the UK economy.”

The eight universities collectively have world-leading R&D resources across several sectors, science parks and incubators, they have strong industry links, and the Midlands Innovation partnership is well positioned to strengthen and expand the social and economic fabric of the Midlands. Working across the partnership, the Technology Transfer Offices will be able to access Intellectual Property Case Managers, with detailed sector knowledge, quickly and efficiently.

The MICRA programme is awarded as part of new investment of £67 million through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) in 14 new collaborative projects, between universities and with other partners, to drive forward world-class university commercialisation across the country. 

About Cranfield University

Cranfield has been a world leader in management education and research for over 50 years, helping individuals and organisations learn and succeed by transforming knowledge into action. We are dedicated to creating responsible management thinking, improving business performance and inspiring the next generation of business leaders. We work to change the lives of our students and executives by encouraging innovation and creative thinking, as well as the drive to succeed and make a real impact on their organisations.

Organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, L’Oréal, UNICEF and the African Development Bank have benefited from our work, which ranges from management research projects, through staff talent management development on our MBA courses, to customised executive programmes.

Cranfield is one of an elite group of Schools worldwide to hold the triple accreditation of: AACSB International (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) and AMBA (the Association of MBAs).

We are in the Top 10 International Business Schools in the Forbes’ ranking.

Our open and customised executive education programmes are ranked in the top five in the UK, according to the latest Financial Times survey, and in the top ten in the world for international reach. Over 10,000 people come to Cranfield each year to benefit from our executive and professional development programmes.