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UK university projects to be commercialised with £3.2m fund

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On 24 November, Real Business published an interview with Google X adviser Jack Hidary, a mentor in the Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVC2UK) initiative. He said having universities participate in the startup culture is critical for entrepreneurial success, and urged investors to leverage the likes of Cambridge and Oxford.

Now, minister for universities, science and cities Greg Clark, has confirmed the new £3.2m iCURE project – an initiative that will support early-stage researchers at universities in Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. It’s part of the SETsquared partnership between the five universities, which specialises in incubating tech startups.

Don Spalinger, board member of SETsquared and director of research and innovation services at the University of Southampton said: “Particularly in the field of technology, where everything evolves so fast, getting a product to market quickly can make the difference between creating a successful business and falling behind.

“The flexibility of this programme and the way it is run will allow researchers to assess their markets much faster, meaning they can potentially seek investment or sell their ideas within just a few months.”

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The Higher Education Funding Council for England and economic growth accelerator Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) are providing the funding – £2.8m and £400,000 respectively – and are aiming to support intellectual property management and other issues involved with growing university projects into commercialised companies.

Researchers taking part will receive training, mentoring and the funds required to get ideas and technologies running.

Clark added: “Collaboration is the key to turning the best research into new businesses. We are proud that SETsquared is already Europe’s best incubator, and second in the world, which is why we are supporting this pilot scheme.

“It will provide skills, support and mentoring to help the UK’s best researchers turn their ideas into commercial success. This strengthens the UK’s position as the best place for science and technology research, and drives forward our economic growth.”

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