Historically left behind by their peers in the golden triangle, universities in the north are stepping up with their own funds, accelerators and collaborations.

Northern England, with its 30 universities, should be an ecosystem of note. Time and again, politicians have spoken of the need to boost economic growth in the region. An ongoing strategy is the Northern Powerhouse – though this also, somewhat confusingly, includes parts of Wales and the fact that the official website still refers to an updated strategy that will be published in 2019 is emblematic of how much of a priority the north often is in Westminster.

It is therefore hardly a surprise that universities have started taking their fate into their own hands. James Kitson, head of commercialisation at University of York, noted that despite Northern Powerhouse being “a strange term”, it had helped with “the recognition that there is stuff going on in the north and attracting interest”.

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