The Science Park Centre photographed by Guy Newman

SETsquared partnership secures funding to grow small businesses

The SETsquared Partnership has secured a government award of £5 million to tackle the challenge of scaling up small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to innovate and grow.

SETsquared, a partnership between the universities of Exeter, Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey, pools resources to facilitate new research collaborations with highly productive and fast growing SMEs. Over the last 15 years, it has helped more 1,000 hi-tech start-ups to develop and raise more than £1bn of investment.

The funding is awarded from the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) to support universities in working together and with external partners to commercialise research, helping to deliver the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

The project will focus on four key technology sectors: advanced engineering & manufacturing; digital innovation; environmental, sustainable, marine/maritime; and health & wellbeing.

In total, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has allocated £20 million to five university partnerships across England.

Jo Johnson, Universities and Science Minister, who announced the funding today, said: “The commercialisation of research and stronger working with business forms a key part of our Industrial Strategy, and through the Connecting Capability Fund we are strengthening collaborations between universities and with businesses to enable more ideas to become innovative solutions, boosting the UK economy.

“By building on our reputation as a pioneering nation, and investing an additional £4.7 billion for research and development, we are making sure that the UK remains one of the best places in the world to innovate, do business and create jobs.”

Sean Fielding, Director of Innovation, Impact and Business at the University of Exeter said: “Now we can bring to bear the expertise and facilities of 5 major universities for the benefit of businesses. Exeter is taking the lead for the environment and marine sector across the whole of the South of England. This is recognition of our region’s strengths and the University’s expertise.”

Dr Jon Hunt, Director of Research & Innovation Services at the University of Bath, added: “This exciting project aligns the different research strengths of the SETsquared universities with the combined power of our enterprise and innovation activities to create connected research enterprises. It's an evolutionary step for the SETsquared Partnership, building on our status as the world's leading university business incubation centre.”

Date: 12 October 2017

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