The University of Nottingham has helped its spin-out companies to secure millions of pounds in funding to develop technologies in fields which range from manufacturing to mental health.

The university has invested nearly £900,000 during the past year in nine businesses which began life as university research projects.

The investments have helped the University’s spin-out portfolio secure further funding packages totalling around £14 million – money which will help them to either commercialise their ideas and bring them to market as viable products, or build on an existing market presence.

The financial backing also forms a key part of the university’s wider long-term strategy of supporting the development of technologies that have the capacity to improve the world.

They include support for businesses active in fields such as the use of artificial intelligence to diagnose mental health conditions, and the manufacture of nanoparticles – which change the way surfaces behave.

The investments have been led by Nottingham Technology Ventures, which manages the University’s portfolio of 20 spin-out companies, working in partnership with specialist investment funds such as Mercia Technologies and Foresight Group.

They include Blueskeye AI, which is developing technology that uses cameras with embedded AI software to spot the changes in physical behaviour caused by conditions ranging from stress to depression; TextureJet, which is developing a new manufacturing technology which leads to more efficient and environmentally-friendly surface treatments; and Promethean Particles, which has received £250,000 from the University as part of a £1.24m funding round led by Foresight Group, which manages the government-backed Midlands Engine Investment Fund.

Dr Andy Naylor, CEO of NTV, said: “Technology companies can find it extremely difficult to access the funding needed to develop their products when they are at an early stage in their life. Their technology can be seen as unproven and it may take time for them to develop it to the point where it’s commercially viable.

“The university’s investment not only comes with the support of an experienced team to help companies achieve their goals, it can also reassure other potential investors that the ideas are have serious commercial potential.

“Supporting technologies that can have an impact at scale is central to the university’s core mission and doing so in partnership with other funding organisations demonstrates real strength in the numbers of opportunities for investment in innovation across the Midlands.”