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Northumbria University adds to knowledge transfer track record

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Northumbria University has secured three more KTPs.

Northumbria University has snagged three new Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), adding to a growing list of efforts to help local and international organisations solve key business challenges.

According to the institution, the first of the new KTPs involves SportsAid , a national charity that provides financial aid to young athletes for training and competition purposes. The following two will see Northumbria academics and PhD students partner with CheaperGroup, a Newcastle-based business services specialist, and Belfast construction experts ESS Modular.

“SportsAid already provides a hugely valuable service for these talented young athletes, some of whom can also feel vulnerable and a little lost, as they find their way in such a highly competitive environment,” said Northumbria Newcastle Business School, Senior Lecturer and Project Lead, Dr. Matthew Sutherland.

“Through this KTP, we can help take this support to an even higher level – and by involving academics from multiple disciplines we can ensure we take a holistic view to improve and innovate around the full range of services provided.”

Knowledge exchange helps provide innovative solutions to business processes
Northumbria will work to provide research-based solutions to support athletes under the SportsAid Trust. Source: Unsplash
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A KTP is a 40-year-old UK-wide partnership government scheme funded by national innovation agency Innovate UK and created to support business growth and productivity.

Part of the government’s industrial strategy, the scheme is a three-way partnership between a local business, a university academic or research organisation and a graduate student, who will be employed by the organisation throughout the project term, which could be anywhere between 12 and 36 months.

Sometimes, a successful KTP will result in the graduate or “Associate” gaining full-time employment with the firm. For academics, benefits include producing at least three new research projects, with at least two research papers per project.

The participating organisation, meanwhile, gets to tap academic expertise to solve a business challenge.

For the SportsAid KPT, Northumbria will work on new ways to support the athletes, as well as develop a new athlete monitoring system fitted with modern information and communication technologies.

“The partnership with SportsAid provides us an ideal platform to apply and further advance our research in the field of Artificial Intelligence,” Northumbria Associate Professor in Computer and Information Sciences Dr. Longzhi Yang said.

“This project will innovate the athlete monitoring system using modern Information and Communication Technologies, and thus allow athletes to gain an extra edge from the services delivered by SportsAid.”

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Likewise, the people behind SportsAid are already looking forward to the potential this partnership will serve.

“This is an extremely exciting and timely project. The sport sector is waking up to its duty of care for athlete welfare and wellbeing, this new athlete monitoring system could be ‘game-changing’, helping to facilitate a genuine cultural change.”

“We are looking forward to once again teaming up with Northumbria University to deliver this innovative initiative.” said company supervisor of SportsAid, Colin Allen. 

In 2017, Northumbria earned recognition from then-KTP programme head Dr Ian Brotherston who commended the institution for its successful work with businesses across various sectors.

Previous KTPs with the university such as that with ink manufacturer Multichem, industrial tech firm Parker Hannifin Manufacturing and global oil and gas firm TechnipFMC have gone on to resounding success, cementing the university’s reputation as a business-friendly university.