Wave energy innovation wins SETsquared student scholarship - Aspiring entrepreneur will attend Kauffman Global Scholars Program

2ndJun 2011

The SETsquared partnership, one of the UK’s most successful university collaborations, has announced the results of its competition to find a student to take part in the Kauffman Global Scholars Program.

The SETsquared partnership, one of the UK's most successful university collaborations, has announced the results of its competition to find a student to take part in the Kauffman Global Scholars Program.

The winner is 22-year-old Alistair Shepherd, who is in the final year of a Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton. He will be the only UK student participating in the Program in 2011. Applicants from across the five universities' 75,000 students were assessed on their ideas for high-growth businesses, and Shepherd's winning entry was based around an innovative approach to exploiting wave energy. The judging panel chose Shepherd because they saw great potential both in him, and in the wave power device.

Shepherd's innovation uses the motion of ships to generate electricity in a device that is inside the ship itself. As the device is not immersed in water, it overcomes the problems of sea damage that affect other wave power solutions.

"The potential for this approach is enormous – wave power could replace diesel auxiliary generators on millions of ships worldwide, saving money for the ship owners and reducing carbon emissions," said Shepherd. "I'm an engineer by trade, and the Global Scholars Program is going to be great experience and will help me develop the wave power device."

The 2012 Global Scholars Program, a program of the US-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will run from January to June 2012, and provides participants with an opportunity to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and ideas, competences and capabilities. The Global Scholars Program exposes students to some of America's most innovative entrepreneurial professors, experts, universities and companies. The Program includes six months in the US, funded by SETsquared, with an elite group of Global Scholars picked from other countries.

As part of the program, Shepherd will also spend a year as 'entrepreneur in residence' at the University of Southampton, enabling him to develop his business concept with support from the SETsquared team and includes a paid role to help advocate and develop student enterprise activities across the SETsquared partnership.

Keith Robson, Chair of the SETsquared Management Group, said: "This program is an excellent example of how SETsquared provides opportunities for the students at its partner universities to learn about being entrepreneurs, and to develop skills that will help them become the UK's next generation of technology innovators."

SETsquared is the enterprise collaboration between five universities: Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. It supports new businesses – both university spin-outs and from the wider community – through its business incubation and acceleration centres, as well as supporting student entrepreneurship, for example with the showcase event taking place in Bath on 7th June 2011. Over the last five years, it has supported around 650 companies, raised nearly £0.75bn in capital and created over 1,000 jobs.

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Release date: 2nd June 2011

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