Close close


Enter your search term below:




Took place: 25 – 29 January 2021

Thank you to everyone who attended SETsquared Conference 2021

We hope you found it a useful and informative series of panels and talks. Don’t worry if you missed anything though, as all the sessions were recorded and can be watched below.


Day 1: Challenges and Opportunities for the SETsquared Partnership

Content summary

  • Guest speaker Jo Shanmugalingam, BEIS confirmed: “Government will double investment in R&D to £22bn by the end of current Parliament” showing that science and R&D are still central to Governments agenda.
  • SETsquared has an open invitation to feed into the Government/BEIS policy and agenda with examples of best practice and evidence of success.
  • The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) gives SETsquared an opportunity to demonstrate best practice as a collective of universities but it’s also very important to be clear on SETsquared’s mission and how it feeds into individual KEF submissions.

Day 2: Building Our Ecosystem

Content summary

  • The most important part of the innovation ecosystem is the talent pool eg researchers across different career stages and the entrepreneurs/founders.
  • Feedback on SETsquared’s Scale-Up Programme is wholly positive from member companies, based mainly on the fact that the programme support can be adapted to fit their needs.
  • Innovation should be a mainstream activity at universities.
  • Capital is global, it can flow to where it’s needed and digital tools help facilitate this.
  • SETsquared with its global no 1 status, isn’t just a UK brand. It needs to leverage this status and think how it could create a $100bn investment ecosystem in the next 5 – 10 years.

Day 3: Investing in Innovation

Content summary

  • SETsquared has an important role to play in ensuring that member companies are investor ready so that the Angel community can clearly see the opportunity.
  • Finding the right investors for companies is also important.
  • Investors value the de-risking that public funding brings.
  • The RAIA programme helped attract new investors, particularly female investors. Having a more diverse investor base ensures investment in a more diverse range of companies and founders.
  • More work needs to be done to encourage and support female and BAME founders.

Day 4: Global Britain in the World Market

Content summary

  • Relationships should be built on synergies not just proximity of geography.
  • Leaning into Europe – with Horizon Europe funding and appetite to stay close and keeps ties with UK/Europe. Continuing to build and develop what we already have is key.
  • Driver towards China and Asia – are they a threat & the political game playing – maybe but the only way to win is stay connected and build bridges.
  • Half our researchers are international so through this and alumni networks we have connections across the world.
  • Skills access for both companies and in the Knowledge Exchange sector is essential.

Day 5: Drivers for 2021

Content summary


  • Potential new partnership member in Cardiff University
  • New investment fund coming online
  • Continuation and growth of programmes like Scale-up
  • Growth is important but we need to be selective and not just chase the money.
  • We need to consider how can we help local members experience the benefits and strengths from across all partners?
  • Communication very important to help the wider community keep working together.

Congratulation to the 2021 SETsquared Award Winners

  • Best New Initiative WINNER: Business & Commercialisation Fellows Cohort, University of Southampton & University of Surrey
  • Achievement WINNERS: Andrew Wilson, University of Bristol & Joe Pearce, SETsquared Exeter
  • Impact WINNER: Project PeRSo, University of Southampton
  • #MakingItWork WINNER: Faculty of Engineering & Design, University of Bath
  • Resilience WINNER: Faye Tromans & Lauren Elise, New Enterprise Competition, University of Bristol
  • Rising Star WINNER: Kat Mack, Student Enterprise, University of Surrey

There’s still time to share your feedback

This is the first time that we’ve run our conference online, broken down into lunchtime slots, so we would really value your feedback on both the content and the format.

You can back your thoughts on the following online forms:

Have your say about the topics & content

Have your say on the event format

Caption Competition

On each day of the SETsquared Conference, we ran a photo caption competition.

There were some very entertaining and amusing (and occasionally libellous) entries, you can now view the winners and some other handpicked classics.

View the winning entries here

Close close

Mailing List sign-up

  • By submitting this form you agree to our privacy policy