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KTP success celebrated at Northumbria

12th April 2017

A senior UK Government representative for innovation and industrial collaboration has visited Northumbria University following the success of a scheme which connects academics, graduates and businesses.

The impact of Northumbria’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) was celebrated during a recent visit by Dr Ian Brotherston, head of the KTP programme at Innovate UK, which has rated a number of Northumbria KTPs as ‘outstanding’.

KTP Ian Brotherston Visit - Embed 2Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are three-way partnerships which see a graduate (known as an associate) work within a business to lead a strategic project. They are supported by the company as well as a university, which provides academic advice and expertise as well as research facilities.

The KTP programme has been running nationally for over 40 years and Northumbria has been the academic partner on a wide variety of successful KTPs, providing exciting job opportunities for graduates and new product or service innovations for businesses. The scheme has also given academics at Northumbria the opportunity to further their research by applying it within an industrial setting.

During the event, seven of Northumbria’s current and recent KTP associates delivered presentations on their experiences and discussed the positive impact of KTPs on their career and the business impact for their host company.

Academic departments from across the university were represented in the five projects showcased, including two ‘double-associate KTPs’ where associates from Northumbria’s Business School and School of Design collaborated on a project.

The ‘Knowledge Transfer’ technologies involved included Analytical Chemistry, Strategic Marketing, Industrial Design, UX (user experience) Design and Advanced Materials.

KTP Ian Brotherston Visit - EmbedDr Brotherston said: “I was delighted to accept the invitation to visit Northumbria University and meet recently finished and ongoing KTP Partnerships. I was particularly pleased that the presentations on the day were given by the KTP Associates and, as usual when I attend such events, I was mightily impressed by both the outcomes of the KTP projects and the Associates themselves.

“I am privileged to lead a programme that continues to deliver outstanding benefits to all the partners in the projects and I was delighted to hear of the important role KTP plays in the ambitions of a vibrant university such as Northumbria.”

During his visit Dr Brotherston gave an update on the KTP programme and new opportunities which are being introduced within the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

George Marston, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at Northumbria, said: “We have built up a strong track record of delivering successful KTPs here at Northumbria and were delighted to showcase some of these to Dr Brotherston during his visit.

“KTPs provide excellent employment opportunities for those graduates with the drive to succeed and we are keen to highlight the significant career opportunity of KTPs to our current students and graduates.

“At Northumbria we pride ourselves on our partnerships with industry and KTPs are another way we are growing and strengthening these connections. The businesses we have worked with have reported improved competitiveness, productivity and performance, as well as a growth in profits and job creation.”

The Northumbria KTPs represented at the event were:

1. Business: Parker Hannifin (UK) Ltd

KTP Associates: Ellie Jones (strategic marketing), Callum Whitehead (industrial design)

Northumbria academic leads: Matthew Lievesley (Reader in Human Centred Problem Solving at Northumbria Design School), David O’Leary (Senior Lecturer, School of Design), Fraser McLeay (Professor of Strategic Marketing Management at Newcastle Business School), Nigel Coates (Principal Lecturer, Newcastle Business School)

Impact: Parker Hannifin’s KTP with Northumbria has seen a number of successful strategies developed and shared across several of its European manufacturing sites and the company’s headquarters in the US. As well as increasing Parker Hannifin (UK) Ltd.’s annual profit before tax by £1.5m within the next three years, this KTP has helped position the company’s facility in Gateshead as a thought-leader in product and marketing innovation.

2. Business: Multichem Ltd

KTP Associate: Dr Tom Winstanley

Northumbria academic leads: Justin Perry (Professor of Chemistry within Northumbria University's Department of Applied Sciences), John Dean, (Professor of Analytical and Environmental Sciences), Michele Carlin (Senior Lecturer in Applied Sciences).

Impact: This KTP led to the creation of a new type of permanent ink, which passes strict environmental and child safety regulations. This has resulted in several large orders for Multichem, which is now producing 20% more ink each month. Following the completion of the KTP, Dr Tom Winstanley has been appointed as product development manager at Multichem.

3. Business: Reproflex 3 Ltd

KTP Associates: Fan Cleverdon (Strategic Marketing), Tim Thomas (UX Design)

Northumbria academic leads: Fraser McLeay (Professor of Strategic Marketing Management at Newcastle Business School), Vignesh Yoganathan (Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader, Digital Marketing), Matthew Lievesley, Reader in Human Centred Problem Solving at Northumbria Design School), Ian Hewitt (Senior Lecturer, Design for Industry).

Impact: The project has been to develop an innovative service-oriented e-Pre-Media Management Service, enabling adoption of appropriate international market-entry strategies and collaboration throughout the supply chain to fully service local and global FMCG customers. Upon completion of the KTP Fan will begin a full-time PhD. Tim is carrying out a part-time Masters during the KTP.

4. Business: Thomas Swan & Co Ltd.

KTP Associate: Rachel Bentham (Strategic Marketing)

Northumbria academic leads: Michele Rusk (Enterprise Fellow at Newcastle Business School), Fraser McLeay (Professor of Strategic Marketing Management at Newcastle Business School)

Impact: The KTP started in September 2016 with the aim of developing a market-led commercialisation capability for the Advanced Materials (including graphene) and Custom Manufacturing Divisions. This will include improved understanding of potential markets and alignment of product and services with these markets.

5. Business: TechnipFMC

KTP Associate: Chinyere Okolo (Advanced Materials)

Northumbria academic leads: Fawad Inam (Associate Professor & Associate Head of Mechanical & Construction Engineering Department), Sergio Gonzalez Sanchez (Lecturer, Mechanical and Construction Engineering)

Impact: The aim of this KTP, which started in January 2016, is to develop a mass extrudable polymer nanocomposite hose for subsea umbilical applications that is operational in varying and extreme temperatures and pressures; outside the current operational constraints and surpassing the existing product specification. Chichi Okolo won the best poster presentation award at her very first conference: 3rd International Conference on Structural Nano Composites, Aberdeen, 12-15 Sep, 2016 and the KTP team have published three papers on KTP research outcomes to date.

If your business is working on a project that would benefit from a new way of thinking, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Northumbria University could be the solution. Find out more by visiting

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