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Wave energy innovation wins SETsquared student scholarship

08 June 2011

The SETsquared partnership has announced 22-year-old Alistair Shepherd (pictured) as the winner of its competition to find a student to take part in the Kauffman Global Scholars Program. Mr Shepherd, who is in the final year of a Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton will be the only UK student participating in the in 2011 Program, which is run by the US-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Mr Alistair Shepherd
Mr Alistair Shepherd

Applicants from a body of 75,000 students (across the five universities of the SETsquared partnership) 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 Mr Shepherd because they saw great potential both in him, and in the wave power device. The 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 affects other wave power systems.

“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 Mr 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 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 picked from other countries.

As part of the program, Mr 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.

More information about the Kauffman Global Scholars Program can be found here.


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