Laura Kreiling
Dr Gerry Black

By Dr Gerry Black, West of Scotland KTP Adviser for Innovate UK

The inaugural Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards included the Building Skills Award to recognise postgraduate students or Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associates who have worked within a business on a specific project to increase innovation within the company.

University of Strathclyde KPT Associate Laura Kreiling worked with Alexander Dennis Ltd, the UK’s leading bus and coach manufacturer, on a two-year project which significantly improved engineering resource estimation.

Here, Gerry outlines why KTP could give businesses the edge.

A little innovation can go a very long way. It can help you stay ahead of the competition. Start using better materials. Launch new products. Sharpen your marketing. It can help you develop more efficient ways of working. Upskill your workforce. But where will you find the right specialists to help you innovate? That's where Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) comes in, providing the links to the expertise you need to grow your business and gain a competitive edge.

KTP is a world-leading programme that helps businesses succeed by connecting them to the UK's rich academic resources. It's a partnership between the business seeking expertise, a university or college and a recently qualified graduate.

Any company can apply. To succeed, a project needs to be strategic and have the potential to transform a business. An academic partner will provide the expertise and knowledge required to deliver the project. If an application is successful, an Associate will work to help bring the plans to life. The Associate will work on the company site to embed the expertise of the academic team and bring their own skills to deliver a project which could mean anything from introducing new products to changing the company's direction.

Since joining Innovate UK I have been amazed by the impact of the many success stories that I have come across in the KTP Programme.  Its track record is a shining example of what can be achieved when dynamic organisations link with academic institutions.  KTP promotes innovation, enterprise and collaboration.  It delivers significant benefits to those that are involved.  It provides opportunities for the academics to apply their research, develops the careers of the graduates and improves the competitiveness of the business.

Read more about all the winners at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards here.

26 February 2016