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Cardiff supports SETsquared’s £1.3bn impact

9 October 2023

people gathered round a table planning their business

An independent report by Warwick Economics and Development estimates companies supported by SETsquared’s Scale-Up Programme will contribute £1.3bn GVA to the UK economy between 2018 and 2030.

Established in 2018, SETsquared’s Scale-Up Programme supports innovative, growing businesses to raise public and private investment to collaborate on research and development (R&D) with its six partner universities (Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey).

Professor Roger Whitaker, Cardiff University Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise, said: “The programme has played a key role in creating additional business and academic collaborations for Cardiff University, helping us to broaden the impact of the University’s world-leading research. Specifically, the Scale-Up Programme has supported nine new funded projects with the University as the lead with an SME partner, generating £1.76m of collaborative research and development funding.”

Overall, the report estimates the Scale-Up Programme has helped:

  • raise £72m collaborative R&D funding for Scale-Up member companies
  • raise £14.2m collaborative funding for the SETsquared partner universities
  • secure 111 funded projects, giving a 35.5% success rate of winning grants, compared to an average success rate of 10%
  • companies secure £713m investment
  • members more than double their number of employees - with an increase of 260% between 2018 and 2023 (from 300 employees in 2018 to 780 in 2023).

Funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, the Programme grew a membership base of 450+ UK-wide innovation-led companies across key sectors, including digital innovation, health and wellbeing, advanced engineering and manufacturing and environment, sustainability, marine and maritime.

For every £1 of funding, the Scale-Up Programme’s return on investment is £7.50.

The report draws on a survey conducted with member companies, which shows that between 2018 and 2023, four in 10 member businesses reported the programme has helped them secure investment. The total number of employees across member businesses has more than doubled, with an increase of 260% between 2018 and 2023.

Karen Brooks, Head of Scale-Up, SETsquared says: “The Scale-Up Programme has proven to be a highly successful model to facilitate university and harder-to-engage SME R&D collaborations. It has created a dynamic market where researchers and companies can find the right partner to work with, greatly benefiting both parties. Academics need to demonstrate the impact of their research, and companies need university-grade research to continually develop and verify their cutting-edge innovations.”

SETsquared continues its strong support for deep tech, science, and innovation-led businesses in multiple sectors, including health & wellbeing, NetZero and next-generation digital.

Download the full Scale-Up Impact Report

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