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Universities win £5 million to invest their knowledge – University of Reading

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Universities win £5 million to invest their knowledge

Release Date 20 September 2006

The University of Reading is one of a consortium of eleven universities in the South East of England which has won a competitive bid for £5 million. Gained in the third round of awards from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), the funding is aimed at supporting Government's drive to realise greater economic and social benefit from the UK's investment in its knowledge base. The CommercialiSE partnership will use the HEIF award to create an integrated, unified and sustainable commercialisation and funding framework for academics, students and alumni from the participating universities. The partners include Brighton, Buckinghamshire Chilterns, Chichester, Cranfield, Greenwich, Kent, Kingston, Portsmouth, Reading and Sussex Universities, with Oxford Brookes University as lead partner. Alongside the university partners is Finance South East Ltd, a specialist funding organisation for the region, which will manage the funds available to innovators through CommercialiSE. In addition the SEEDA Enterprise Hubs and South East Sector Consortia will facilitate the commercialisation of ideas supported by the consortium. Applicants with early-stage business ideas will be considered for up to £50,000 of proof of concept funding, while applicants with proven ideas ready to progress to full commercialisation will have access to the CommercialiSE Seed Fund, which will offer awards from £50,000 to £250,000. In a statement announcing the HEIF 3 awards on 18 May 2006, Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said the CommercialiSE partners are, 'leading the way in linking innovation to business, and it's vital they work with business to help translate new ideas and technology into increased productivity and regional growth. Their collaboration with regional firms will help redefine the relationship between business and Higher Education.' The University of Reading's Technology Transfer Manager, Sue O'Hare, said, 'We are very pleased to be part of the CommercialiSE initiative. We consider it an exciting opportunity both to help commercialise the University's world-class research and to realise the benefits of closer working with business.' CommercialiSE will use the new funding to help give access to the best available support to innovators from universities in the South East region, with the aim of generating £20M of added value for the UK within two years. The partnership aims to support up to 80 CommercialiSE Fellows, 40 Proof of Concept projects and 12 Seed Fund opportunities over two years, and is structured to be financially sustainable beyond its initial two-year remit. Ends For more information: Dr Sue O'Hare Technology Transfer Manager, The University of Reading E: s.c.ohare@reading.ac.uk Press office contact: Lucy Ferguson 0118 378 7388 L.Ferguson@reading.ac.uk

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