Sheffield Innovation Spine

University spinouts and technology-rich start-up companies can be a major contributor to growth in Sheffield through the creation of skilled, high-income jobs and the creation of innovative products. Through the South Yorkshire Investment Zone we have the opportunity to realise this potential.

Robot with four legs
Opteran Technologies

What is the Sheffield Innovation Spine?

Founders, investors and local stakeholders all share a desire to grow businesses in Sheffield, but a lack of suitable clustering, incubation and scale-up space for deep-tech/med-tech/life-science companies is holding them back.

The Sheffield Innovation Spine is a long-term spatial and economic strategy to create and link the infrastructure required to grow knowledge-led businesses in the city centre forming a natural route from the University of Sheffield's campus to West Bar Square and capitalising on the key existing developments of Kelham Island and Castlegate. 

The South Yorkshire Investment Zone status allows us to bring this vision to life and seek the inward investment required to link up the University of Sheffield's spinout pipeline growth with the growth of technology-rich start-ups in the city.  Key existing incubation space at Sheffield Technology Parks and laboratory facilities at both University campuses will also be linked to the spine; further concentrating intellectual property rich businesses into the city centre driving economic growth and job creation. 

Sheffield Technology Parks, Sheffield City Council, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority will initiate a 2-year project to develop and launch a Sheffield Innovation Spine prospectus incorporating innovation spaces such as laboratories and specialist facilities, alongside housing, public realm and economic development activity. 

Sheffield historically struggles to offer the right facilities for such businesses to grow, and a strategy to enhance the physical and economic landscape is in line with our company’s mission as a non-profit economic development organisation

The next two years are an opportunity to unpack what this might look like, and the Project Partners have joined forces to appoint a Project Director to drive this forwards.

If you would like further information and understand how to apply, please email and we will share the Job Pack.

Aerial view of Sheffield City centre roundabout

The University’s track record

The University of Sheffield has steadily increased resources for establishing high-value spinout companies over the last five years and has been recognised as one of the best universities in the country for developing IP and commercialising research.  

Since 2017, the University has established 23 new businesses - ranging from advanced medical companies such as Rinri Therapeutics to 4th generation Artificial Intelligence developers such as Opteran. 

Together with the expansion of support through the University's Commercialisation Journey, the creation of a £1M annual investment budget and the establishment of Northern Gritstone, there is a dramatic step-change in the number of scalable spinouts launching from the University and raising private Investment.