SETN had a focus on supporting SMEs and micro-sized innovative companies where a lack of financial resources, detailed technical knowledge and expertise, laboratory space and equipment are significant barriers to their development.
The core interventions were a unique and powerful combination, providing deep sectoral technology and market knowledge/expertise, tailored introductions to potential collaborators and access to dedicated laboratory services/facilities for trials, testing and verification of technologies.
SETN maintained a leading position in the ECT sector over 8 years, supporting entrepreneurs and established businesses in a vibrant community of over 250 SMEs. In the period Nov 2010-Jan 2014, the network supported the creation of 473 jobs and safeguarded a further 554. Member companies reported having created or significantly improved 240 products, processes or services with an associated increase in turnover of £38m.
SETN had been established in 2006 as an extension of the industry focused Contaminated Land Assessment & Remediation Research Centre (CLARRC). CLARRC was founded 1998 as a centre of excellence with SHEFC RDG funding and was hosted at the University of Edinburgh. The Director, Dr Colin Cunningham, broadened the scope of CLARRC to meet a growing demand for support from Scottish SMEs in the emerging ECT sector.
SETN initially received funding from the Scottish Government SEEKIT programme from 2006-2010 with additional contributions from Scottish Enterprise and SEPA.
In November 2010, SETN moved to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde and was supported by SFC/ERDF funding until the 31st January 2014. The issue of funding the continued grow of SETN was raised with Scottish Government in November 2012. Although interim funding was secured to maintain the group until September 2014, a 5-year funding proposal to grow the team and generate income through charging for services was eventually rejected.
“The Scottish Government recognises the important contribution that SETN has made to innovation in the ECT sector since 2006 and those companies working hard to develop low carbon products, processes and services, supporting Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy. However, after careful consideration of recommendations made by a panel of public sector representatives from Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Government considered that there was not a strong enough case to justify further programme funding” (Scottish Government, September 2014)