What exactly is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, and how can it benefit your business? Dr Lorna Everall, head of postgraduate research support at Coventry University, explains to Insider Media.
Many of you will have heard the phrase “knowledge transfer”, particularly within academic circles, and perhaps have wondered “what exactly does it mean?”. More to the point, I imagine some of you will be thinking “And how can it possibly help my business?”. As head of research degrees at Coventry University and having been a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) associate, I can say from my own personal experience that businesses, working in partnership with a University, can bring significant benefits to all!
The act of knowledge transfer is to not only share what we know but all involved also have a duty to enable it to be captured, embedded and exploited to ensure maximum impact. I would emphasise the word “partnership”. Not only is there a strong, underpinning element of support and consultancy from an academic institution with the development of a particular project, there is also much to be gained by the educators. The very process of bringing certain knowledge and expertise into an organisation, adapting it to ensure it is fit for purpose, relevant and necessary, provides valuable insight and contributes towards further research.
My own experiences as a KTP associate saw me transfer fibre optic sensing expertise to a small but successful UK manufacturer of luxury yacht masts. The transfer of this ground-breaking sensing technology enabled the company to monitor the yacht mast strength in real-time, whilst out on the water. This was critical at a time when the company were trying to launch a radical free-standing mast design and many in the marine industry doubted its strength. The technology actually proved they were much stronger than traditional masts. As a result of our partnership the company saw the wider potential of the technology and set up a spin-out to develop the technology for a range of applications, including civil, oil and gas and wind industries. From a small project we were able to create many jobs and significant revenue for the company- and forged a long-lasting relationship with the university!
My role currently is to mentor and advise postgraduate research students and encourage them to get involved in knowledge transfer partnerships with external organisations. Their research projects are wide and varied and not only unique to that organization, but they are new and innovative to the business world. The benefit to the organization is the current and fresh knowledge the graduate brings with them as well as their enthusiasm and passion for trying something new. In addition the associate is supported by both an experienced specialist and the full research power of the University, who can guide both them and the business to success.
If you are looking to adopt innovative new products, services or processes a Knowledge Transfer Partnership could be an option. Heavily subsidised by government funding, these strategic growth projects can run from six months up to three years, helping to make a step change in an area your business has identified as a priority.
Contact our Knowledge Transfer team to find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and how they could help your business.
Dr Lorna Everall
Head of postgraduate research support