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Nicola Webber
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The University of Melbourne is among nine Australian and New Zealand universities to sign a landmark deal today with the London-listed IP Group plc that will see $200 million being made available to find and commercialise research ideas and innovation.

The commercialisation agreement – the first of its type in Australasia – involves IP Group Australia, the Group of Eight universities in Australia and the University of Auckland in New Zealand

IP Group will invest at least $200 million over 10 years to fund investments in spin-out companies based on the intellectual property (IP) developed by academics at the nine universities, generated from research in areas such as digital medicine, new medical therapies and quantum computing.

The nine universities are the University of Melbourne, the University of Adelaide, Australian National University, Monash University, UNSW Sydney, the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia in Australia, and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

University of Melbourne Vice-Principal Enterprise Doron Ben-Meir said the IP Group investment model addressed a number of important aspects of translating and commercialising University originated intellectual property. 

“It invests from a very early stage, uses its international networks to help build management and governance teams and invests across all disciplines, which is important for a comprehensive University such as the University of Melbourne,” Mr Ben-Meir said.

“Combining this model with other complementary funding and translation mechanisms we are establishing is another important step forward in building the infrastructure necessary to see the results of our world-class research find beneficial expression in the community.”

IP Group Chief Executive Alan Aubrey said the agreement with the University of Melbourne and the other Go8 partners and the University of Auckland would help world-class research and innovation reach a global market.

“The business model we are using is similar to the model IP Group has used successfully in the UK and the US, providing business-building expertise, capital, networks, recruitment and business support,” Mr Aubrey said. 

“We believe the model represents a significant commercial opportunity for all those involved.”

Go8 Chair Professor Peter Høj said the investment was a vote of confidence from global capital markets in the quality of research and innovation by the Go8 and the University of Auckland.

“It is a significant recognition of our leading research-intensive universities and the $6 billion a year of research which they undertake,” Professor Høj said.