Six projects to link universities with business and the community each received more than Pounds 1 million this week.
The money comes from the second round of the third leg of public funding - the Higher Education Reach-out to Business and the Community Fund (HEROBC), run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Higher education minister Baroness Blackstone said: "This fund rewards and encourages universities and colleges to enhance their interaction with business."
The University of Wolverhampton will get Pounds 1.1 million over four years for a collaborative project with 11 members of the West Midlands Higher Education Association. It aims to promote the services of higher education institutions to companies across the West Midlands.
The University of Northumbria at Newcastle also received Pounds 1.1 million. It will expand its e-commerce centre and its centre for business excellence, which aims to increase the competitiveness of businesses in the Northeast.
Cranfield University's Pounds 1.1 million grant will be used to centralise its business link activities. The University of Liverpool, the University of York and the University of Central Lancashire all received the maximum grant.
Hefce chief executive Sir Brian Fender said: "Closer knowledge-sharing between higher education institutions and business and the community is good for the economy and all concerned."
Last week's science white paper announced plans to create a Pounds 140 million higher education innovation fund, which will incorporate the HEROBC.