All three universities in Leicestershire are combining to help spin-out startup ideas, thanks to a new grant.

University of Leicester, De Montfort University and Loughborough University have bee awarded £300k from Research England to develop a “pioneering approach to creating new products, services, and business from university ideas”.

Together the collaboration will be called ‘Innovation Catalysed & Enabled (ICE) Leicestershire’ and it will see each university share there intellectual property with a community of businesses, graduates and students who are open to adopting an open innovation approach to sharing, testing, and developing business concepts.

The partners say the aim is to deliver novel products, services and businesses and energise the innovation culture of the city and county.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Chair of Innovative Leicestershire, said:

“The ICE Project being led by the county’s three universities aligns powerfully to our strategic aims, as it will unlock the skills, knowledge, energy and networks within our local innovation eco-system. We are alert to, and champion, the significant innovation assets within our county, yet this is presently not exploited to the fullest potential.

“We have low levels of investment in R&D in Leicestershire and low proportions of technology driven, export intensive businesses. Our region is also underserved by public investment overall, with the lowest level of public spending per head in the UK.

“This initiative is potentially transformational, as it seeks to challenge and tackle some of these key issues, and we stand ready to make the most of this opportunity.”

The ICE Project follows a wider regional initiative launched in partnership with eight universities called Midlands Mindforge, which is an investment company aimed at accelerating spinouts and early-stage IP rich businesses in the region.