Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) webinar, University of Aberdeen Business School: Part 1
Very good morning everyone. My name is Martin Meyer and I'm the Dean of the University of Aberdeen Business School, It's a real pleasure to welcome you to this morning's session. Our school has the mission to power change for better businesses and better lives, and this leads us straight to today's topic. I'm really pleased we are collaborating today with the North of Scotland KTP Center to give businesses in the region insight into KTP's and what the fantastic KTP team do to support you throughout the application and project stages.
You will get a chance to hear from a business that has had a successful project with the Business School, and academics and a KTP Associate who have been involved in KTPs. We will be welcoming questions from the audience during the panel discussion so please feel free to use the raise hand function and post questions in the chat box. I would like to remind you that the session is being recorded and will be shared across our social media channels. Now I would like to introduce you to Dr Ian Heywood, Knowledge Transfer Advisor for the North of Scotland, who will give you an overview of the KTPs and the Management KTPs. Ian, over to you and Laura.
Thank you so much Martin, it's great to be here to to chat to you all about an initiative that I'm very passionate about, having been involved in it for many years, both as a company and also as an academic and now actually supporting in the North of Scotland. Could you bring up my first slide please? So my name is Dr Ian Heywood and I work for the Knowledge Transfer Network We look after this program of funding on behalf of Innovate UK. Then just very quickly I want to talk through the the sort of scope of the program and and how we see it as support for business. I mean its purpose is very much there to help businesses connect with what we call the "knowledge base" which is the university sector and research sector in the UK, and help those businesses drive forward strategic change which needs innovation at its heart. Next slide please. As I go through, like most projects and and most schemes there's a bit of terminology so I'll just cover that first. KTP as we call them are Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.
They are partnerships between universities and businesses, so that's what a KTP is. The Management KTP is a new brand of these, MKTP, and that's focused much more on the people side and the strategic side of business development and strategic change, and there is a specific set of funding that's available. KB is a Knowledge Base, so universities. And we call the people that get hired to do this work Associates, but you can think of them as researchers.
And Partnerships in this sense is the project team, so i always think it's good to demystify some of those terms as well. Let's just move on next slide please. So these knowledge transfer projects aren't new. Some of you will already know them, but they have a long history! We've been going for 45 years and they are company-led and strategically important, so they are projects that a company wants to do to drive strategic change The key element here is, though, the company doesn't think they can do that on their own so they need to bring in appropriate academic expertise and that can come from any part of a university. It could be life sciences, it could be computing and it could be a business school, as we we're looking at in this case, and what we do is we put in the funding to allow the partnership to hire that researcher, who's usually at a Master's or a PhD level, but might well have business experience, so there isn't a kind of age thing here at all, or a recent graduate thing.
It's just someone with that level of knowledge that can come in and help work on an innovative high-impact project. As I said already, we cut across all sectors. Next slide please. What's the scale of the program? Well, I thought I'd give you a quick snapshot of what it looks like at the moment. We currently have 815 live partnerships across the UK. We're currently working with 764 businesses; some famous names like Dyson and Siemens, but equally down to small, micro sized businesses. And I work with a lot of those across the north of Scotland.
We're working with 122 universities and research institutes and we've currently got 845 researchers working on projects across the UK, which is a tremendous capacity for future innovation in the UK. The numbers at the bottom give you a little sense of the scale of the program that's currently in play and the exciting thing to note at the moment is that we've got about £22.5 million funding in Scotland and £6 million in the north of Scotland so you know there's an opportunity here to tap into some of that going forward. Next slide please. So how does it work? I'm not going to go through the detail but just give you a sense. If you're a business that has an innovation idea or faces a challenge and you don't have an off-the-shelf solution so you can't hire a consultant or you can't buy a solution, you wish to solve it because it will give you competitive advantage in your market, then we'd like you to work with a university that has that knowledge and expertise in that area, is a thought leader both in terms of the practice and also in terms of the research, and if you come together to address a problem then we can support you to hire the university to provide the academic support, but also to employ someone full-time to work on the project for up to three years.
That's what we call the Associate so, it's this partnership that we create. Next slide please. We've got three businesses on the call today or three projects on the call, and people from those projects to talk to you and give you a bit of an insight and they're across all different sectors. We've got vertebrate antibodies, life sciences, we've got Aberdeen Northern Marts Group for the land economy sector the agriculture sector and we've got a case study live with Motive Offshore Group, which is an energy sector company. What we've done is we've kind of mixed it up. A little bit later you'll get to hear from the researcher who worked on the Vertebrate Antibodies project, the academic who's working on the Motive project and these business leader who was working on the project, it's finished this one now, with the ANM Group. So you'll get a different perspective from each of those a little bit later.
Next slide please. So I did mention that there are two types: The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships originally were very technical, so they were focused maybe on building something or creating a new process, so quite often driven by life sciences, engineering, design, computing companies, but more recently we have received specific funding to focus on what we call Management KTPs. These are very much about transformation; they're about digital transformation, they're about updating the people within the businesses. They don't have to be digital but a lot of them of course are these days, and they are very much focused on the strategic changes that the top management team in a business believe need to happen to drive the business into new markets or help it sustain itself. They are particularly
important at the moment post the pandemic because many businesses are having to transition in the way they work, so they've got to be transformative projects to help new market and resilience and they've got to be about driving organisational change. Those are the kind of key projects that you could work with the Business School on to actually help you transform your business. So this is a unique pot of funding. It's available for a short period of time, probably another 18 months to two years so that might be something that's particularly important and where particular value in working with the Business School on the call today. Next slide please. So what makes a good company partner? Well, let's be clear on this: it's a partnership.
It's a co-investment, it's not a grant that you get without some commitment and here's some of the things that we look for when we're looking to support a project: Your ability and desire to invest in innovation: you will have to contribute to the project and that's because over the last 45 years we've realised that if you put money into a project that and people, then the likelihood of it succeeding is greater than if you don't. There's got to be a clear strategic need it's got to be something that you want to do in the future and can't do at the moment, but it's going to bring commercial benefit to you. There's got to be an exciting opportunity for the researcher that we are going to hire; this is a career development initiative for them as much as it is a strategic initiative for the business. We want there to be significant challenge for the academic team. We want the team to be stretched; we want them to develop their own research knowledge and contribute to that wider research agenda. And the company has to have a collaborative culture
because you're going to have to see this as an open innovation project where you're prepared to work with these partners who are not part of your business at the moment. And probably most important of all, we want you to have the desire to be an innovation leader in your sector. Most of the businesses we work are ambitious to support the wider development of the sector they work in, so that's the key. There is a contribution and I've given some indication of it there and we can talk about that later, but what we say is if you were going to invest in a project anyway, either through using potentially consultants or hiring a body, then this will make your money go a lot further and give you extra things that you can tap into to support your innovation. And the strategic nature of it will gain the input from a wide range of business professionals. Next slide please.
So what do you get for investing? You get your researcher, a dedicated employee or technical specialist in the area. It's probably a great way of testing somebody out for a future position in the business. Something like 70% of our researchers are hired by the companies when the project finishes. You get access to the academic team. There's a financial commitment that the university makes through gaining the grant to give you half a day a week of expert academic time. And given the level of our academics from professorial to new staff, that can be a significant contribution.
And you also get access to wider university resources, which can have tremendous benefit for you, as you tap into different databases and knowledge sources. And then you get access of the wider support network from my organisation and the dedicated Center that's been set up in the north of Scotland to help manage the project. So all of the onerous project management is taken away to allow you as a business and the academic team to focus on project delivery, which is pretty unique amongst most funded projects. Next slide please. So a couple of things to leave you with. First and foremost, there's a very useful website which the link will be shared to, and that captures basically case studies: how to apply, all the criteria and everything, so do check it out. That's our KTP website, and you can get in touch through
there if you need to, but the North Centre and my colleagues from there will be speaking later. That's probably your best point of call. Next slide please. You'll see and hear once you know the words "KTP", if you start doing some google searching or you look at some hashtags on twitter feeds, you'll see that we are all over the news for various projects. So one of the things that you get as well is the opportunity to market your business and your innovation expertise more widely and we are actively involved in doing that because our funders, mainly Innovate UK and the Research Councils, are keen for us to share how we are contributing to the growth of innovation and the growth of the UK economy. Next slide please.
And then finally, who knows where it might lead? At one of my projects just before Christmas, and you might have seen this in the news, I say one of my projects, I can't take any credit for the work, I just look after the project from a a management perspective in terms of the initiative, was up for and won Toyota's International Mobility Challenge for the work they've pioneered in smart wheelchair design. And that's brought them in an additional $1 million of funding from Toyota and their investment in the KTP project as a small business was circa £27,000 a year, so that's not a bad leverage for the investment and the PR it's given them. And the support for a micro company, in this case only about three or four people, has been really great to see, and I'm so pleased for for that business. So I'm going to finish there. My next slide does say "any questions", but I think we'll be taking those later, so Lucia, back to you.
Thank you so much Ian. And now it's my pleasure to introduce you to Laura Dee who will tell us a little bit more about how the North of Scotland KTP Center can help businesses. Over to you Laura. Thank you Martin. I'm Laura Dee from the North of Scotland KTP Centre. I've been with the Centre for just over two years now and have a background in commercial research and development in Life Sciences, before segueing into project management after that.
My role within the Centre is business development and that's bringing together companies and academic teams to develop bespoke projects which solve strategic challenges that are very specific to the business partner in the project. Part of that business development role is to help those teams to secure funding by helping them to build an application for funding with Innovate UK, and once a project is awarded then I will assist in the recruitment and setup of the project, before passing it across to my colleagues for project management and administrative support throughout the project's lifespan. As Ian mentioned in his slides, he put several case studies up for three of our previous projects and we have three partnership members on our discussion panel for after this presentation. So I would encourage you to think of some questions and put them in the Q&A box while I go through what the application process looks like.
The North of Scotland KTP Centre has got over 20 years of history supporting the KTP scheme, which has been running for 45 years. We've currently got 31 active projects in our portfolio and we support six Knowledge Base Partners across the north of Scotland region, including the University of Aberdeen. We've got five calls coming up during 2021 and those are approximately 2 to 3 months apart, so if anybody is interested in putting together an application please get in touch and i'm sure we can find an appropriate call to target for you. Can I have the next slide please? I'm just going to walk you through the application process for KTP. The most crucial part of it is identifying the challenge, and that's the part that the business can't solve themselves and would like to seek academic support to do that. My role in
that business development function is to seek out the appropriate academic expertise from whichever academic school and university the company wants to work with, or who we feel have got the skills to deliver the necessary expertise into the partnership. And I then help bring those people together and we assess the eligibility of the project; we scope it out, build the team and then prepare and submit the funding application. It's a very collaborative and iterative process and that we're finding is taking between 10 to 12 weeks to do, and that's if a partnership isn't already established. If companies and academics come to us with a fully-formed
partnership, then that process can take considerably less time. Once we put the application into Innovate UK via their online funding system, we wait about eight to ten weeks before we get the results of the awards, and as a center we have a greater than 90% success rate for awarded projects, which anybody in academia will tell you is considerably higher than you would get for many other types of grant funding! So we're quite proud of our history with our success rate. Once the project is awarded, then I'll continue to help support the team with the recruitment and the setup of the project. We have a nine-month window from the date of the award until we have to get the research Associate in post, and then at that point I will hand over to my post-award colleagues who will help with the project management and the administrative support throughout the rest of the project lifespan, just to help make sure that all the spending is within budget and all of the reporting requirements have been passed and captured to Innovate UK to help them monitor the progress of all the reports and all of the projects. And then hopefully at the end of the project you will be able to deliver all of the outputs that you've set out in your project plan, and it will help to solve the company's challenge. One of the benefits of KTP that we've found from experience is that it's a very flexible scheme, so you know Innovate UK are very aware that companies need to be agile and responsive to any changes in their own pressures or in the marketplace, so sometimes projects that start off with a very clear idea of where they're going have to move in a slightly different direction and we have the flexibility to be able to, within reason, adjust our work plans accordingly in order to help the companies be responsive to those changes.
Next slide please. A As Ian mentioned, the KTP scheme isn't just applicable to certain sectors of the market. In our current portfolio of 31 projects we are supporting a variety of different sectors including the textile industry, construction, forestry, Oil & Gas and also Life Sciences. So we cover a very broad scope of different sectors and companies, and work with many many different academic teams across a variety of schools and specialisms. So there isn't really anything that you couldn't throw at us that we wouldn't try and be able to put a team together to help support you. And that's really everything that I wanted to cover. So if you just go to the next slide please. Those are contact details for myself
and my colleague Alison Reith. We are the two development officers at the North of Scotland KTP Centre. All of our details are there, including the links to our website, Twitter and LinkedIn, so if you have any ideas for potential projects that you'd like to discuss, please don't hesitate to get in contact with us and we'll talk through the ideas with you and hopefully help you to develop the application. Thank you Martin Thank you so much Laura, thank you Ian.
We know the support you provide to businesses is really invaluable and we know your team do everything to streamline the process for businesses.