A landmark agreement, signed today, will see $200 million invested in intellectual property (IP) developed by academics at nine universities in Australia and New Zealand, including UNSW Sydney.

The Group of Eight/ IP Group Commercialisation Fund is an initiative of the UK-based IP Group, which intends to raise an initial $200 million to fund investment over the next ten years in spin-out companies, based on research developed by Australia’s Go8 universities and the University of Auckland. A commercial venture with no financial input from the universities or governments, the funding will be sourced from UK investors, and from Australian super fund investors.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs, welcomed the announcement at the launch event, noting it was a critical time for higher education funding. “This is a great example of universities driving innovation agendas that will change the world in the 21st century.

“Our sector is increasing collaborations with the private sector to fund translational research – great ideas and innovations that can be converted into new products and services,” Professor Jacobs said.

The IP Group is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, and its portfolio comprises holdings in approximately 100 early-stage to mature businesses across four main sectors – biotech, cleantech, healthcare and technology – a focus that matches areas of major research expertise at UNSW.

“Knowing there is sustained funding over an initial ten years, and stretching ultimately to 20 years, will itself be a massive incentive to attract the expertise of our university researchers.

“This is an exciting funding model that effectively measures the strength of our research ideas in the marketplace of level-headed investors looking for long-term value. That will be a powerful incentive for our researchers to come up with brilliant concepts that can drive new jobs, new exports, and new industries,” Professor Jacobs said.