University Innovation and Enterprise Centre receives £3m boost


The University of Leeds has welcomed significant investment from the Government's Local Growth Deals programme for its planned University Innovation and Enterprise Centre (UIEC) in the city.

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced £54.6 million to boost the economy of the Leeds City Region.

The new facility at the University, set to open on its campus in 2018, is dues to receive a £3 million share of this regional funding.

The £42 million centre will drive innovation in technology-led companies and stimulate new high-tech firm start-ups by providing ready access to the University’s world-class research and innovation.

UIEC will provide professional skills to help companies harness innovative scientific research carried out at the University and translate it into proven technologies that investors are confident to back and progress to market.

The University has a strong track record in commercialisation and is second in the country in terms of the number of spin-outs businesses formed since 1995. It has establishing more than 105 companies with a market value of more than £450m, employing in excess of 600 staff. 

The new centre will also drive the growth of technology-led start-up companies with an active incubation programme to foster connections to people, knowledge and resources across the region and beyond, ensuring a steady flow of ambitious graduates equipped with the enterprise skills needed to create their own high-tech businesses.

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “The new University Innovation and Enterprise Centre will accelerate business creation, business growth and innovation in the Leeds City Region and beyond. 

“It will establish a high quality business-facing gateway to ensure that external partners access and engage with knowledge, research and capabilities at the University. We will grow provision in the region for emerging science and technology firms and increase even further the impact of our staff and students.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Giving local communities the power and the money to unlock growth and development and make the spending decisions that work for them is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain and ensure a recovery for all. 

“And this is happening right here in the Leeds City Region, with more money announced today for key projects to boost the local economy as part of the multi-million pound expansion of the Government’s Growth Deals. 

“Because the money will be in the control of a partnership of local community, business and civic leaders it means it will go on the things that really matter to people and businesses here.”

The case for innovation: medical technologies 

The University of Leeds has a strong track record in the medical technologies sector, attracting research investment of £83m since 2009 and hosting two nationally funded centres in med-tech innovation and innovative manufacturing

The University has directly generated more than £77m of new investment in the private sector, supported two successful Regional Growth Fund proposals that have secured more than 1,000 jobs, and generated more than £200m of additional value in the private sector.

This has helped to place Leeds as a UK and global leader for innovation in the sector.

The new Innovation and Enterprise Centre will build on this unique platform by drawing on world-leading research in our faculties of Engineering, Medicine and Health and Biological Sciences alongside other disciplines including Mathematics, the Physical Sciences and Business, to ensure a strong inter-disciplinary capability.

This will be supported through our partnership with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust – one of the largest teaching hospital complexes in Europe – to improve the health of millions of patients.

Dr Ceri Williams, the University’s Director of Innovation and Enterprise Partnerships, said: “Medical technologies have enjoyed significant success through investment in innovation management capability and resources to identify opportunities that offer potential to address unmet clinical needs and meet demand from industry. 

"We have also invested in  innovation development programmes to provide for researchers with the skills and confidence to  translate their discoveries into products and treatments that have real impact.

“The UIEC will build on this further, with significant capability in staff development for innovation, and through connecting early career researchers from PhD through to senior academics to external partners and companies to ensure that their research has maximum economic and societal impact."

A successful track record in commercialisation

The University has a strong track record in commercialisation and is second in the country in terms of the number of spin-outs businesses formed since 1995. It has establishing more than 105 companies with a market value of more than £450m, employing in excess of 600 staff.

Leeds’ current company portfolio includes the largest number of market listed companies of any UK university, including regional flagship companies Tissue Regenix Group PLC, Tracsis PLC, Xeros Technology Group PLC, Avacta Group PLC and Getech Group PLC.

The investment for the University of Leeds forms part of a further £54.6m Growth Deals funding from Government to create jobs and support business growth in Leeds City Region. 

This new funding is on top of the £1 billion deal agreed in July 2014 which saw the Leeds City Region awarded the largest settlement of any LEP area in the country. 

The overall investment could bring up to 10,000 jobs, 2,000 new homes and as much as £640m public and private sector investment to Leeds City Region. 

Projects to benefit from the latest round of investment include: 

• Housing and Regeneration programmes that will enable housing and employment growth

• A funding boost for the LEP’s business grants programme, helping more companies grow, innovate and exploit supply chain opportunities 

• Innovation and Enterprise centres at the Universities of Huddersfield and Leeds, forging links between business and universities, particularly in the health and medical, advanced manufacturing, and digital and creative sectors 

• Funding to exploit new resource efficient technologies to provide low cost, local energy 

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said:
“This expansion of the £1billion Growth Deal we secured last summer is further demonstration of the Government’s confidence in Leeds City Region as an economic powerhouse-in-the-making, capable of generating extraordinary growth for the North and the nation, and transforming us into a net contributor to national wealth.”

Councillor Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said:
“We have proved in the Leeds City Region that strong partnership working between the public and private sectors delivers better economic outcomes, quicker and at better value for the taxpayer than centrally administered schemes.”

Further information

For images and interviews, contact University of Leeds press officer Gareth Dant on 0113 343 3996 or