The Knowledge Transfer Partnership Awards, which celebrate partnerships between businesses and universities, were held last night at a gala event at the London Marriot.
In his keynote speech Tim Waterstone, Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University and founder of Waterstone’s Booksellers, spoke of the need for entrepreneurs to drive innovation and stimulate industry, particularly manufacturing.
The prestigious UK Best Partnership Award and associated £10,000 cash prize were presented to James Leckey Design for their association with the University of Ulster.
The company designs and manufacturers a variety of positioning equipment, to improve the comfort, independence and quality of life for young children and young people with special needs. In partnership with the University of Ultster, the knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) provided clinical evidence of the benefits of current and new products through in-depth research on clinical best practice. The evidence gathered was used to improve products whilst minimising the risk from potential litigation.
Other winners on the night included: trigger spray manufacturer, Canyon Europe, who won the Business Impact Award; and Professor Rachel McCrindle who was awarded the Academic Excellence Award.
Also recognised on the night were the five winners of the Business Leader of Tomorrow Awards which included: Alex Brown, from Teeside University and Solo Cup Europe; Syed Shahrukh Kazmi, from Aston University and Pace Systems International; Michelle Lyons, from the University of Central Lancashire and Blackpool Primary Care Trust; Eamonn Morgan, from University of Ulster and The Foyle Food Group; and Sara Zarei, from Teeside University and Stanley Vickers.
The KTP is Europe’s leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base.
KTP achieves this through the forming of a Partnership between your business and an academic institution (such as university, further education college or research and technology organisation), enabling you to access skills and expertise to help your business develop.
The knowledge sought is embedded into the business from the knowledge base through a project, or projects, undertaken by a recently qualified person (known as the Associate), recruited to specifically work on that project. KTPs can vary in length from 1 to 3 years (classic KTP) and from 10-40 weeks (shorter KTP), depending on the needs of the business and the desired outcomes.
A KTP is part-funded by a Government grant. An SME would be expected to contribute about a third of the costs involved in the project.