Reporter 444, 6 December 1999

New £20m fund to help drive enterprise forward

Enterprising University researchers can now draw on a £20m fund to help them take their inventions to the marketplace following the signing of a unique partnership with Forward Group.

The joint venture, the first of its kind in the UK, will also provide strategic back-up, management and support services to help University researchers commercialise their ideas.

The agreement is the culmination of twelve months’ negotiations between University Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Wilson and Forward Group chief executive Ray Chamberlain.

"Our researchers will welcome the fantastic opportunities provided by this new partnership," said Professor Wilson. "It enables them to get on with what they do best - and leave the business plans, cash flow analyses and commercial management to the experts."

The partnership to create the Forward Innovation Fund was welcomed by Science Minister Lord Sainsbury who said: "I welcome the enterprising spirit of this initiative.

"Universities are key centres in the knowledge-driven economy, and our future prosperity depends on our ability to transform our excellent research and ideas into profitable products and services." Ray Chamberlain said he was impressed with the science and technology research currently ongoing at Leeds. "The quality and dedication of its people is incredibly impressive," he said. "Our job is to help them achieve their potential."

"We are convinced that the formula we have forged with Leeds opens up tremendous business opportunities for us," he added.

The deal seals one of the most successful - and forward looking - years in the history of the University. 1999 has seen it attract record funds, including £67m of research income and £5m from the Fifth Framework programme. Stronger links with business will also come from the new Centre for Chinese business and development and money won through the University Challenge, Joint Infrastructure and Science Challenge funds. Leeds has also won one of the biggest Reach-Out grants to build bridges with industry.More

Reach-Out success, page three.

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