Dream Agility Blog

Innovation In Collaboration: How Manchester’s Universities Can Supercharge Northern Tech

Innovation in Colaboration

The National Graphene Institute (NGI) hosts a unique evening which will explore the value and challenges of collaboration between Tech businesses and university.

Manchester’s Tech cluster is booming. The most recent lending figures from Natwest show that the city is starting to close the gap on London as the UK’s primary cluster. But what is it that makes Manchester a great alternative to start, scale and grow a Tech Business? Access to talent? Funding? Culture? Our history? Manchester is the city where Rolls met Royce, where the atom was first split, and has produced over 20 Nobel Prize winners to date.

A unique aspect of Greater Manchester lies in the proximity and prestige of its Universities; the University of Manchester, University of Salford, and Manchester Metropolitan University between them boast one of the largest concentrations of students and research in Europe. This vast centre of knowledge and learning offers a unique landscape of high quality talent, research and funding that can benefit the city’s tech sector.

However, Tech start-ups by their very nature are fast moving, agile and have limited resources in which to make collaborations work. So how can partnering with Manchester’s universities really create value? And how easy is it as a small business to engage and interact? Is there a culture clash?

This event featured local tech companies, such as Ramsbottom based AdTech Dream Agility, and other start-ups that are already collaborating. It explored how universities engage, and inform the Investor community on the long-term benefits of this relationship.

Dream Agility are fervent adopters of further education in business, and are one of the first to make use of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership project. This has helped to develop our Machine Learning and AI technology for online advertising software.


  • Hearing from young tech companies on how they managed to create value from collaboration
  • Understand what support is available & how to engage (eg. grants, placements, KTPs)
  • Listened to the challenges of forging the right relationships for success
  • How university collaboration led to smarter funding


  • Dr Neil McArthur, MBE – Chairman MTT, Group Innovation Director – TalkTalk Technology
  • Professor Luke Georghiou – Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester
  • Daniel Jamieson – CEO and Founder of Biorelate
  • Elizabeth Clark – CEO and co-founder of Dream Agility
  • Jon Kingsbury – Head of Digital Economy & Creative Industries – Innovate UK
  • Simon Thorpe – UK Business Angels Association Angel investor of the year 2016/17
  • Anne Dornan – Head of Innovation, Manchester Science Partnerships
  • Andrew James – Associate Dean – Business Engagement, University of Manchester


National Graphene Institute (NGI) – Booth Street East, Manchester M13 9PL