Graphic for the Invest In UK University R&D Midlands Campaign with partner logos

Nottingham among Midlands universities launching £3m campaign to attract global R&D investment and drive economic growth

Tuesday, 21 May 2024

The University of Nottingham is among a ground breaking coalition of Midlands universities which has launched a new £3 million international campaign to attract inward investment into R&D, innovation and science – leveraging their global connections to drive economic growth across the region.

The campaign will see the universities joining forces to create a more ambitious offer to global investors. It will showcase five sectors where the Midlands is world-renowned for the strength of its research and innovation. They will also leverage their international alumni, industry and university connections 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 major regeneration projects across the region that have universities as a core partner. These include sites within both West and East Midlands Investment Zones.

Tom Rodden
I am delighted that the university is part of this initiative that showcases our outstanding research expertise and facilities, helping to promote the region as a destination for global investment and to secure funding for major regeneration projects that have universities such as Nottingham as their core partner.
Professor Tom Rodden, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange

Professor Rodden added: "Our partnership with the East Midlands Freeport demonstrates the role universities can play in inward investment through provision of innovation facilities to support international firms to locate both research and manufacturing activity in the region.

“It continues to be an exciting time for research, it’s an exciting time for the university and in turn, an exciting time for the 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.

Science and technology superpower

Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation, 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 Minister said: “The UK is home to world-class research hubs and by bringing together the expertise and connections of universities, government and industry, we can bolster our efforts to win international investment into some of the Midlands’ strongest sectors. Our country’s universities have directly attracted around £4bn of foreign investment into their research since 2015. Today’s new campaign, supported by £1.5m from the Government’s International Science Partnership Fund, will help bring in more backing for the region's excellent research.”

The campaign will 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 is also being supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK’s Global Science and Innovation Network (SIN), which is jointly funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Enormous potential

This most recent award follows-on from the ‘Universities as Drivers of Trade and Investment’ Pilot, led by Midlands Innovation, Midlands Engine Partnership and Midlands Enterprise Universities, with support from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The programme helped lay the groundwork for the campaign by demonstrating the enormous potential universities have to play a much greater role in driving overseas trade and investment into UK regional R&D.

Alex Favier, Programme Director at Midlands Innovation will lead the campaign and said: "We are thrilled to have secured Government support for this trailblazing campaign. Through our new Invest Universities Midlands team, we will be able to work with UK embassies around the world, national government and regional partners such as the West Midlands Growth Company to provide a ‘concierge service’ for investors into our universities. Individually our universities all have outstanding innovation, talent, and state-of-the-art R&D facilities. But together, our collaboration and connections become a distinct competitive advantage for any investor seeking a partnership with a Midlands university.”

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”.

Emma Thorne - Head of News
Phone: 0115 846 8092

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

More news…

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798