Universities in the Northeast are joining forces to support innovative projects

The Innovating Together – Universities in the North East (In-TUNE) partnership was launched by the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland, alongside technology innovation catalyst CPI, to deliver two business support programs aimed at strengthening the North East economy aim.

Universities have received £4.75 million from Durham County Council and the North of Tyne Combined Authority through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to jointly help strengthen the North East economy, drive forward the Leveling Up agenda and the economy to grow the region.

Over the last five years, Newcastle University’s flagship business support programme, Arrow, has supported regional SMEs to innovate by connecting them with Newcastle University’s expertise, strengthening the local economy.

In-TUNE is driving Arrow’s expansion across the region and organizations in the County Durham and North of Tyne Combined Authority areas can now access innovation support from all four North East universities to develop new products and processes.

In-TUNE also supports Northern Accelerator, an innovative program run by Durham University in collaboration with the universities of Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and York, to commercialize research and achieve practical impact.

Businesses in the North East that will benefit include:


Nanovery is a cutting-edge biotech company developing nanorobots to be used for early diagnosis of deadly diseases. Nanovery’s technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost and turnaround time of a liquid biopsy, making it more accessible to patients and healthcare providers.

The Arrow project allowed Nanovery to test its prototype in a laboratory using clinically relevant cell lines. The team gained insight into the type of data they needed to validate their technology.

The results of this project helped Nanovery secure grants from Innovate UK, which enabled the company to establish operations in the biosphere at Newcastle Helix. The company has now raised £1.85m investment, employs a team of nine and is hosting two PhD students from Newcastle University to develop their diagnostic test.

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Northern Accelerator has the spinout PulmoBioMed Ltd. supported by Northumbria University. Led by Professor Sterghios Moschos from Northumbria, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of PulmoBioMed, and with the support of InnovateUK ICURe, the team has developed PBM-HALE™, the most reliable device for obtaining uncontaminated samples from deep lung, completely non-invasively. This device could revolutionize early diagnosis and speed of treatment for patients suffering from a range of conditions, including asthma, lung cancer, wheezing in children and lung infections. PulmoBioMed is in the final stages of completing its first round of investment on terms agreed with a UK lead investor.

Magnitude Life Sciences

Based at County Durham’s NETPark, Magnitude Biosciences brings the power of C. elegans technology to industry to accelerate drug discovery, help find new nutritional supplements and make products less toxic. C. elegans were the first multicellular organisms to have their entire genome sequenced and have been a powerful model in academic biology for years. Magnitude now aims to bring that power to sectors such as biotechnology, healthcare products and manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals.


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