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University of Southampton shares in £1.5m DTI award to further US-UK enterprise

Published: 
11 November 2005

The University of Southampton is set to share in one of four awards granted from the Department of Trade and Industry to expand its partnership work with top-ranked research and enterprise universities in southern California. The £1.5 million grant has been awarded to the SETsquared Partnership, the collaboration of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. The Partnership is the largest university enterprise collaboration in the UK.

Announced on 3 November by Lord Sainsbury, the DTI's Science and Innovation Minister, the grant will facilitate greater cooperation between the Partnership and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and the University of California Irvine (UCI) in technology transfer, covering the high-growth research and industry areas of telecommunications, life science, the environment and new energy, nanotechnology, and new materials.

"The UK is known for its excellent academic research, and our universities are assisting academics in making their discoveries available through commercialisation. Working together with researchers and enterprise experts in southern California's premiere universities, we will have the opportunity to develop collaborative applied research projects and synergistic commercial ventures," said Dr Neil Bradshaw, Director of the SETsquared Partnership.

As the largest single source for academic knowledge transfer in the UK and with a collective research base of over 6,500 researchers, the SETsquared Partnership has listed four companies on the Alternative Investment Market with a combined valuation of over £150m, raised over £30m in follow-on funding for spinouts, and supported a further successful 170 tech start-ups from the local entrepreneurial community through its unique SETsquared Business Acceleration Programme.

"The SETsquared Partnership's universities' business creation teams are transforming excellent academic research into viable businesses. Our business acceleration centres are supporting ventures from the local economy. We are training the next enterprise generation in our academic classes and bridging the knowledge gap by working closely with the business world. Through this, our universities are generating a strong economy for the UK," added Dr Bradshaw.

San Diego has one of the largest clusters of biotech companies in the US and is considered to be the United States' 'Wireless Capital'. The University of California San Diego's (UCSD) Scripps Institute of Oceanography, one of the oldest and largest oceanography centres in the world and the University of Southampton's National Oceanography Centre, Europe's leading centre for the study of marine sciences, have enjoyed long standing relations.

Speaking on behalf of the University of Southampton, Dr Tony Raven, Director of its Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI) said: "The University of Southampton already enjoys a good relationship with USCD through academic research and the World University Network. With the DTI grant, the Partnership can now look forward to further developing enterprise and industry activities in collaboration with one of the USA's premier enterprise regions to the mutual benefit of all."

The SETsquared Partnership received an invitation from the DTI to bid for the US-UK funding. The six other invitees included Cambridge University, Oxford University, Imperial College London, the University of Manchester, University College London, Kings College and the White Rose Consortium. Cambridge, Manchester and Imperial also received equal awards for their work with universities in Massachussetts, Washington, and Texas respectively.

Notes for editors

  1. The SETsquared Partnership brings together the enterprise activities of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. With 8% of the UK's research budget, the Partnership is situated in one of the strongest economic areas. As a proven leader in the development of the UK's knowledge economy, the Partnership creates new technology businesses, supports the wider business community with access to the universities' knowledge base and mentors, and equips new entrepreneurs with the education to be the UK's enterprise generation. Heeding the UK government's call for strengthening of the economy through entrepreneurship, new business creation and accelerating company growth, the SETsquared Partnership aims to secure the UK as a global leader in new businesses and innovation.
  2. The SETsquared Business Acceleration Centres are part of the enterprise partnership between the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. The SETsquared centres support early-stage, technology, high growth potential ventures both from within and outside the universities to accelerate their businesses. They help these ventures make the vital, yet often difficult move from initial ideas to business start-up and the key to their success lies in the combination of the research strength of the universities and private sector commercial experience. The SETsquared centres provide business mentoring and guidance, support of entrepreneurs and business professionals and office space.
  3. California is recognised as one of the leading regions for University technology transfer and commercialisation in the US. The University of California System is responsible for approximately 25% of the total US academic research budget.
  4. The University of Southampton is one of the UK's top 10 research-led universities, with a global reputation for excellence in both teaching and research. With first-rate opportunities and facilities across a wide range of subjects in science and engineering, health, arts and humanities, the University has around 20,000 students and 5000 staff at its campuses in Southampton and Winchester. Its annual turnover is in the region of £274 million.
    Southampton is recognised internationally for its leading-edge research in engineering, science, computer science and medicine, and for its strong enterprise agenda. It is home to world-leading research centres, including the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton; the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research; the Optoelectronics Research Centre; the Textile Conservation Centre; the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease; and the Mountbatten Centre for International Studies.

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