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New ‘Home of Innovation’ for SMEs

23 October 2018

Shaking hands

Cardiff University is joining forces with five other research-intensive universities to help small and medium-sized businesses innovate in Wales.

Cardiff will participate in the SETSquared Scale-Up Programme, thanks to a £1m investment from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and a further £437k from the University.

The Programme will help high-growth SMEs to develop their Research and Development (R&D) capabilities and exploit the University’s cutting-edge facilities and academic talent.

The University’s future Innovation Central building on the Cardiff Innovation Campus will be the local hub for Programme activities.

The SETsquared Scale-Up Programme is an enterprise collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey which is supported by Research England.

It offers a portfolio of targeted and tailored resources to help high growth SMEs increase their competitiveness and productivity, with access to investment, corporates, potential employees and collaborative R&D grant funding.

Participation in the Scale-Up Programme supports Cardiff’s aim to increase the number of its strategic partnerships, providing a pipeline of organisations intent on intensifying their R&D activities, generating economic growth for Wales and the UK.

It also extends the reach of Cardiff’s knowledge exchange activities and impact into the South West and beyond. This builds on opportunities identified in the South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit, delivered for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

We are delighted to be joining the SETSquared Scale-Up Programme. The project will enable our private sector partners to gain added value from their relationships with Cardiff University and will expose them to a broad range of further investment options such as Innovate UK, Research Councils, the Life Sciences Bridging Fund and other Welsh Government and European Commission backed schemes.

Dr Dave BemboDirector

Funding will contribute to an SME-focused stimulus fund to help support the development of collaborations with HEIs, with potential to leverage additional support from public innovation agencies and enhance relationships with industry innovation leaders and Welsh anchor companies.  

SETsquared, ranked as the World’s Top Business Incubator (managed by a university), has supported over 2,500 hi-tech start-ups to develop and raise more than £1.5bn of investment, and has contributed over £3.8bn to the UK economy.

Simon Bond, Innovation Director from SETsquared said: “The Scale-Up Programme brings benefits to academics through SME collaboration, providing a rapid route to impact and funding. Cardiff will be working with a select group of universities who are passionate about the creation of knowledge and its impact. Working collaboratively with small agile companies allows us to apply our knowledge rapidly to real-world challenges.”

Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: “We were pleased to be able to award Cardiff University £1 million of our Capital Funding for Research and Innovation to allow them to further build on their collaborative work with external partners and join this successful programme that has already built a presence around England. Through Innovation Central, in line with Welsh Government strategic aims, the University will provide welcome access to its research expertise to SMEs and other organisations who want to further boost their competitiveness.”

Innovation Central, currently under construction, will be the University’s front door to business. It will help turn academic research into products, processes, spinouts and start-ups. The 12,000sq.m innovation hub will be a purpose-built ‘Home of Innovation’ for around 800 researchers, entrepreneurs, innovation practitioners, business and partners at the heart of the University’s £300m Innovation Campus.

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