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Creating a smarter business

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are a three-way partnership between companies, universities and Innovate UK, the Government’s innovation agency. Through the partnership a recent graduate or ‘associate’ is placed within a firm to work on a specific project that aims to bring innovation or improved efficiencies to the company.
Photo of Philip Atkins, John Morrall and Nazim Mohammed

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Creating a smarter business

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are a three-way partnership between companies, universities and Innovate UK, the Government’s innovation agency. Through the partnership a recent graduate or ‘associate’ is placed within a firm to work on a specific project that aims to bring innovation or improved efficiencies to the company.
Photo of Philip Atkins, John Morrall and Nazim Mohammed

Software Engineering Graduate Philip Atkins began his KTP project at Conway Packing Services in Tipton on 11 June. He had been at the firm since November 2017 working on a KEEN project, where he scrutinised the systems in place, which were a 70:30 split of paper-based and computer-based systems.

For the KEEN project he identified and replaced a number of company processes. He moved data into a centralised repository and redeveloped frontend applications based on what users needed to do their jobs more effectively. While he was delivering the KEEN project, he was laying the groundwork for the future KTP.

The benefits of a KTP

To qualify for a KTP, the company and university must submit a proposal to Innovate UK. Once approved, projects are then subsidised and a portion of the funding goes to the company to create an attractive package for the associate in the form of a competitive salary, covering the costs of mentorship by an academic and a large budget for personal development.

The benefits for the company include recruiting from a different demographic than it would normally, the positive impact of the delivered project as well as the associate’s ideas running through the business as a catalyst for change.

For the University, these projects are an opportunity to get involved with local business, get to grips with what they need and how they plan to drive growth, to update course content and to boost student employability. In turn, academics who are mentoring an associate can use the experience to deliver real-world problems to their students on campus, rather than theoretical ones. They can also tailor their course content to real-world scenarios. Additionally, KTPs can be used as subject matter or case studies within academic publications. In this way, providing academics with valuable data for research and in turn boosting its impact.

Smarter businesses

Philip is in the process of re-evaluating his impact in the business during the KEEN project, which involves analysing his new applications, as well as the processes he hasn’t had the opportunity to re-engineer. The aim of which is to identify which processes are ripe to be re-designed and rebuilt to deliver the project’s over-arching aim: to create a smarter business.

Philip said: “KEEN and KTP offer a wide range of opportunities for different types of students. I would recommend talking to Senior Knowledge Transfer Business Engagement Manager Natalie Lewis and her team regularly to discuss upcoming students and projects. This is not only an opportunity for students and local companies but academics to gain some valuable insights.

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