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Partnership including Bristol receives £1.5 million for US research link-up

Press release issued: 3 November 2005

A consortium of universities, which includes the University of Bristol, has secured Government funding to work with similar research institutes in California.

A consortium of universities, which includes the University of Bristol, has secured Government funding to work with similar research institutes in California.

The SETsquared Partnership, a collaboration of the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Southampton and Surrey, has been awarded a £1.5 million grant by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The grant will be used to expand the work of SETsquared - the largest university enterprise collaboration in the UK - with top-ranked research and enterprise universities in southern California.

Announced today by Lord Sainsbury, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, the grant will facilitate greater cooperation between SETsquared and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and the University of California Irvine (UCI).

The UK and US researchers will look at technology transfer, the high-growth research and industry areas of telecommunications, life science, the environment and new energy, nanotechnology, and new materials.

Dr Neil Bradshaw, director of the SETsquared Partnership, said: "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 premier universities, we will have the opportunity to develop collaborative applied research projects and synergistic commercial ventures."

As the largest single source for academic knowledge transfer in the UK and with a collective research base of over 6,500 researchers, the partnership has four companies on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) with a combined valuation of more than £150 million, it has raised more than £30 million in funding for spinout projects and supported a further 170 successful start-up businesses through the SETsquared Business Acceleration Programme.

Dr Bradshaw said: "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."

San Diego has one of the largest clusters of biotech companies in the US and is considered to be the 'wireless capital' of the United States.

UCSD's Scripps Institute of Oceanography - one of the oldest and largest centres of its kind 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.

Christine Kehoe, US Senator for San Diego, said: "The San Diego region has one of the highest concentrations of high-tech companies in the United States and the third largest concentration of biotech companies in the nation.

"The state of California - the sixth largest economy in the world with a gross state product of nearly $1.5 trillion - is committed to improve collaborations between universities such as the SETsquared Partnership to develop leading-edge research results that will lead to economic development and job creation."

Dr Mary Walshok, Associate Vice-Chancellor of Public Programmes at UCSD, said: "The University of California San Diego (UCSD) is one of the 10 most prestigious research universities in the United States.

"San Diego, as well, is home to a number of leading high tech clusters, especially telecommunications and biotechnology enterprises.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to further the existing collaboration between the UCSD and the SETsquared Partnership for the purpose of improving technology transfer and economic development in both countries."

The SETsquared Partnership received an invitation from the DTI to bid for the funding to further UK and US enterprise.

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.

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