As the economy improves, there has been a big upsurge in the number of ambitious companies forging collaborative partnerships with the University of Huddersfield’s School of Computing and Engineering.
The current roster of projects has received total funding of more than £1 million.
The long-established Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme is backed by the Government via the Technology Strategy Board (now known as Innovate UK).
It helps firms which wish to innovate or to investigate ways of improving their products or processes to tap into the scientific and technical expertise of universities.
A KTP Associate – often a recent, high-achieving graduate – is appointed and works closely with the firm, supervised jointly by the company and a member of the University’s staff who has special expertise and experience in the relevant field.
The University of Huddersfield’s School of Computing and Engineering currently has seven KTPs running or soon to be launched and it has set itself a target of doubling that figure over the next 12 months.
Boosting the number of KTPs is a major priority for the School’s Business Development Manager, Simon McKenna, and its Business Development Officer, Marie-Claire Micuta. They take charge of the detailed work that is required in setting up a project and securing approval and funding.
Mr McKenna said that during the economic downturn, the number of KTPs undertaken by the School fell significantly. But now there has been a rapid upturn.
“Companies are feeling rather more confident in the aftermath of the recession and we have been responding to them. The University’s growth in reputation for research has also played a part and in the School of Computing and Engineering we have the resources to set up KTPs. Our major focus is on external partnerships.”
The value of a KTP typically ranges from £125,000 to £200,000. Smaller companies contribute a third of the cost, with the KTP grant providing the remainder.
“There is no question that firms derive huge value from KTPs. There is a lot of data to back that up,” said Mr McKenna. Many companies make repeated use of the scheme and one of the recently-approved KTPs is the third partnership between the firm in question and the School of Computing and Engineering.
A number of KTPs take place with firms that have previously taken University of Huddersfield students on work placement.
“This means that that they see the value of collaboration with the University and understand what we have got to offer. A KTP is often the next step,” said Mr McKenna.