KTP awards 2015 - university & business partnerships

Life begins for the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)

As many of you will know 2015 marks the 40th Anniversary of the first projects to be funded under the Teaching Company Scheme, which became Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in 2003.  There have been a number of events around the country to celebrate the successes of the scheme and showcase the outcomes of some of the very best projects.  It has been my good fortune to attend and even present at a number of these events and the stories I have seen and heard from across the UK has been truly inspiring.

KTP Awards 2015

KTP awards 2015
KTP awards 2015

However the undoubted highlight of a busy year thus far for such events were the KTP Awards that were held on the afternoon of 10th November at the Innovate 2015 event at Old Billingsgate in London.

The Best of the Best

KTP Awards 2015 - Best of the Best awards
KTP Awards 2015 - Best of the Best awards

The KTP Awards, also known as ‘Best of the Best’, are a fantastic celebration of the many projects that have gone above and beyond the original expectations of the project.  The event both showcases the excellence of the outcomes of so many KTPs but also gives the community the chance to celebrate these successes together.

There are a number of categories that are awarded but in all cases the three partners in the project (businesses, academic partners and the KTP Associates) have delivered outstanding results.  The nominated, let alone the winners, truly represent the ‘best of the best’. The awards this year were hosted by Phil Smith, Chair of Innovate UK and CEO of Cisco UK and Ireland, and Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, historian, author, broadcaster and KTP alumna.

Celebrating the last 40 years of KTP

Marguerite Lipscomb cutting a 40th birthday cake at the Innovate UK KTP awards in London. 10th November 2015.
Marguerite Lipscomb cutting a 40th birthday cake at the Innovate UK KTP awards in London. 10th November 2015.

In addition to the Awards Ceremony this year’s event also celebrated KTP@40 through the recollections and experiences of those who have been involved over the course of the scheme.  These included the testimonies of ex Associates, ex Company supervisors and Academic supervisors and it was of great interest to hear how being involved in KTP has shaped their respective careers as they have moved forward.

The KTP Best Partnership Award

KTP Awards 2015 - Best partnership award, Miguel Martinez-Alvarez, Signal and University of Essex
KTP Awards 2015 - Best partnership award, Miguel Martinez-Alvarez, Signal and University of Essex

The ultimate accolade is to the Best Partnership Award.  This year’s winners were Signal, University of Essex (Professor Udo Kruschwitz) and Miguel Martinez-Alvarez.  Choosing a winner from such an outstanding field is of course difficult but ultimately the outstanding achievements and outcomes of this project brought it to the top of the pile.  The aim of Signal Media’s KTP with the university’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering was to develop the innovative natural language processing applications that would underpin the new company’s products and services.

The collaboration with Essex University led to considerable growth as Signal’s staff numbers grew from 3 to 23 in less than 2 years. Miguel Martinez-Alvarez, the young graduate brought in at the outset to deliver the project as KTP associate, has since become head of research at Signal and a shareholder in the company.  The company has raised £1.2 million through private investors this year to boost further growth.

Success happens every week

As KTP Programme Manager it is always a delight to hear such success stories but I am lucky enough to hear similar stories on a weekly basis.  KTPs continue to help companies innovate and grow by assisting them acquire the knowledge they need through partnership with a university and the employment of highly skilled and determined graduates to deliver the project.   KTP has a long track record of success (recently highlighted in the Warwick Economics and Developments report that stated that for every £1 of KTP grant invested results in up to £8 of net extra GVA) and the KTP Awards highlight the breadth, depth and continued excellence of the projects that are funded.”

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