North East universities launch new business support programmes

As part of the UK's levelling up project, four North East Universities have launched a new innovation partnership.

Rachael McCreanor
9th November 2023
Four North East universities have joined together to launch a new innovation partnership, aiming to deliver two business support programmes to strengthen the region's economy.  

The Innovating Together – Universities in the North East (In-TUNE) partnership brings together Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities to drive forward the 'Levelling Up' agenda and strengthen the North East’s business economy.  

The consortium received £4.75m from Durham County Council and North of Tyne Combined Authority through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) - part of the UK government’s Levelling Up programme – with the goal of targeting one of the Fund’s key objectives, aiming to boost jobs, productivity and living standards by developing the private sector.   

In-TUNE marks the expansion of Newcastle University’s flagship business support programme, Arrow, which successfully facilitated innovation in regional SMEs, providing them with expertise from Newcastle University and strengthening the local economy as a result. The new partnership will enable the expansion of Arrow across the North East, allowing organisations in County Durham and North of Tyne Combined Authority areas to access innovation support from all four universities.  

The new partnership will enable the expansion of Arrow across the North East

In-TUNE is also set to support the Northern Accelerator programme, led by Durham University in collaboration with Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and York universities to commercialise research and create real-world impact.   

Northern Accelerator has, to date, enabled the creation of 47 spinout buisness through the programme’s support model, many of which are now based in innovation clusters at Newcastle’s Helix and County Durham’s North East Technology Park (NETPark).   

According to Newcastle University, ‘an external evaluation has forecasted that Northern Accelerator will have added an additional £140m to the value of the North East economy by 2030, measured in GVA. That contribution to the region’s economy is well underway, with spinouts from the partner universities raising over £100m investment in the last five years and currently employing over 650 people.’  

"Northern Accelerator will have added an additional £140m to the value of the North East economy by 2030"

Dr Tim Hammond, programme lead for Northern Accelerator, said: “This new funding from UKSPF is a huge boost to the partnership, allowing us to further develop the flagship elements of our programme that have embedded our best-practice support across our partner universities, ensuring the pipeline of high-tech businesses continues to accelerate, and strengthening the North East’s innovation ecosystem.” 

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AUTHOR: Rachael McCreanor
Deputy Editor 23/24, PGR Student studying for an MLitt in English Literature. she/her.

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