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The University of Southampton

Business Link supports Innovation at Ilika with the Entrepreneurial Internship Scheme, University of Southampton and SETsquared

Published: 7 January 2010

The Entrepreneurial Internship Scheme is a programme designed to aid and support young researchers who wish to collaborate with entrepreneurial technology-driven businesses. Through this collaborative partnership, businesses selected to be in the scheme will gain access to talented young researchers, who have specified technical knowledge as well as receiving matched funding for their project.

The Entrepreneurial Internship Scheme is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for early EPSRC Researchers.
Business Link and the SETsquared centre at the University of Southampton have joined efforts to locate the best technology driven businesses to collaborate with young researchers.

A successful company that has recently adopted this scheme is Ilika. The intern, Mehdi Mersaneh has been seconded to a commercial project team at Ilika working on the next-generation of lithium-ion batteries. Ultimately, the results of the work will contribute to more efficient hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles.

Mehdi learned of the Entrepreneurial Internship Scheme from his supervisor, Professor Brian Hayden, Mehdi said, ‘Having been a researcher at various research institutions, I am always looking for opportunities to diversify my skills and found this an excellent chance to obtain such expertise.’ Since June 2009 Mehdi has spent three days a week at Ilika where he works with a group of scientists developing materials for rechargeable batteries. He adds, ‘This has been very successful, not only achieving the objectives of the project, but also discovering new compositions which are to be patented by the industry project partner.’

Graeme Purdy at Ilika commented, ‘The scheme has worked very well so far and Mehdi is being cherished as a valuable team member. The company will also benefit from Mehdi’s technical knowledge of materials science, which will boost the technical skills deployed within the project team.’
Business Link is involved in the Entrepreneurial Internship scheme to advise on the approach to suitably innovative and entrepreneurial companies. Business Link will also provide an expert independent review of the progress of the internships to ensure that both the intern and the company are mutually benefiting.

David Bream, Director of SETsquared at the University of Southampton
‘This scheme realises the University's mission for knowledge transfer, whilst simultaneously offering invaluable commercial experience to the intern and high calibre skills and expertise to the company.’

The SETsquared partnership is the successful enterprise and entrepreneurship collaboration between the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey. They help technology entrepreneurs in Southern England get on the road to success; providing a wide range of support to move businesses forward from initial ideas to becoming start-ups and then ultimately commercial viability.

For more information please contact Dr Ian Rowley at the University of Southampton email: or call 07739 434037, alternatively call Business Link on 0845 600 9 006.<

Notes for editors

  • About Business Link

    • Business Link provides the information, advice and support needed to start, maintain and to grow a business.
    • Business Link’s information and advice services are available through the website or by calling 0845 600 9 006.
    • Business Link is a regional network of highly skilled and qualified advisers and is the official website for business.
    • Business Link helps people succeed in business.
    • Business Link is the government funded national business information, advice and support service, delivered in the South East by the six Business Link Providers. In the South East the service is funded by SEEDA.

    About the University of Southampton

    • The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health, arts and humanities.
    • With over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover of almost £400 million, the University of Southampton is one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.
    • The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres, including the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute.
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