Recent work in regional development has stressed the role of key economic actors in less favoured regions, particularly in high-technology sectors, in making those regions more attractive to outside investors. Of course, in less favoured regions (LFRs), there are rarely strong high-technology sectors able to reconfigure their local environment and provide the necessary local "buzz" to attract the attention of outside investors. In this paper, this issue is addressed by looking at how universities can play this role and have a broader systemic effect on the regional economic environment, by plugging gaps in the local regional innovation system. In this paper, a case study from Newcastle in the north-east of England is taken to consider recent developments which have begun to rebuild the regional innovation system. Focusing on the commercialization community around the university, it is looked at how this community of geographically proximate but initially organizationally and cognately remote actors built a common understanding to solve the problems involved in exploiting intellectual property in the impoverished regional innovation system (RIS) of the north-east of England.